What It's About

TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Love Paradox

The beautiful shape of my wife’s hands
LOSS taught me love in a paradoxical reversal of fortunes. What was loss was gain. And it could be learned no other way. Like Jesus said, I had to lose my life to save it.
I learned more about love from loss than I could ever learn about love otherwise. What we would never ever ask for has nested within it, God’s irrevocable gift; a most remarkable compensation. In this case, an eternality of learning, upon which is tantamount to irony.
A perfect thing — love — is to be expressed imperfectly. The more imperfect love is, the sincerer it is.
Can we progress far in the reality of (the spiritual) life without love?
Yet, love is a complete paradox. The way of perfection is best actuated imprecisely.
God is love. God is perfect. We are sinners. Yet, we are given to, and are able to, love.
It wasn’t until I accepted how flawed I was, recognising for the first time that the drive for perfectionism comes from fear, that I saw that even in imperfection, love is possible… and it’s enough.
So good is God that He made love, not for the perfect, but for the good. Anyone who’s intent on doing good can love. And the genius of love is it is especially expressed through imperfection, for it is a uniquely human thing to do.
That’s right. In an imperfect world, and though it is, of itself, perfect, love is exemplified best through imperfection.
God’s grace imputes itself all over the human expression of love. The more imperfectly we love, the sincerer we are perceived. God has made love for a common and possible purpose. Everyone may love. Because everyone who can choose, can choose for love.
Love is perfect, but, the choice and action of being loving allows much for fallibility.
Thank God that what He made perfect, love, may be best expressed imperfectly.

Monday, March 13, 2017

True Hope Enters Only As False Hopes Depart

HUMANITY is utterly dependant on hope. We all derive hope from somewhere. We all place our faith in something. Not all hope is healthy or productive.
It can be difficult to discern whether the hope we hope upon is a hope that will stack up at crunch time. One thing for sure, however, is once hope is gone — I’m talking all hope — a new never more vibrant hope may finally be allowed to make its long-awaited entrance. Requisite with surrender.
This can only be explained as the hope of God — hope that is stripped of every scaffold with which to attach false and failing hopes.
When we lose something uniquely valuable in life it feels we’ve lost everything. But there’s one thing we gain in losing it all. A fresh start. An unadulterated hope. Courage to begin again. To recommence life in a way that God designed us to live from the beginning. To hope in the only Source that can never disappoint.
Some, maybe many, of us will never truly believe in God until we’re desperate enough — when we need to hope, finally we hope with complete abandon.
Hope, when to hope is all we have left, because there is no other hope.
Back’s against the wall stuff. Nothing left to attach vain hopes to. Nothing else works. Only the true hope of Christ does. And it requires the fullest surrender, not to men, but to God’s leading Spirit. Then, and only then, do we realise that His Spirit is real, alive.
Hope, when to hope is all we have left, because there is no other hope. Think about it like this. We only grow beyond the gravitational pull of the forces that hold us in old and sick patterns when we have the courage to get past dated trajectories.
The Blessed Hope in Jesus Christ works. He heals and restores. But only if we let Him.
Hope works when we have no hope left but to hope. Then we find such a hope is the only true hope.
When we need to hope, we hope!
Only as we’re forced to relinquish a long list of false hopes do we then see the one True Hope, which is all we’ll ever need.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Rest from Work in Child’s Play

Blessedness is the business of those believing in Christ. Our pastime is faith, our proclivity is hope, our passion is love.
But how does that translate in common fatherhood? For me, it pivots around being present, which seems easier than it is in a world full of distractions. I’d love a blessing for every time I’ve failed to be present, but of course life (and God) doesn’t work that way. I’d love it if all those temptations into distraction proved of value, but of course they don’t.
The fact is we’re only rewarded with the sweet Presence of God as we slow down for sweet moments where we’re present in life, especially as we congregate with those we love.
On a common-enough Friday morning, my wife having left for work, which means it’s my day to manage household affairs and care for our son, I found myself in the backyard, absorbed by the imagination of our nearly four-year-old.
He stands atop a sawn-off tree stump and spies through a paper roll telescope at the land over yonder. You can see miles through this thing! He tucks his telescope into his shirt and he’s off. He climbs the ladder on the slide and spies over the fence into the neighbour’s yard, before I divert his attention to worthier pursuits.
Soon enough, he’s moved on to a game on the swing, where he runs up, having taken an on-your-mark-SET-GO approach, and flies through the air, his belly on the seat, nearly upending the swing more than once. (Dad decides to anchor it better!) He is, in fact, performing. Of course! What else?
The next activity takes place in the cubby house. 30-seconds of light relief, before the next idea springs from his mind. His Lightning McQueen (a Tonka truck) has to be refuelled and have its tyres pumped up. Then, he’s off, tearing through the backyard, taking tight turns, kicking up the dirt, just like the racing car reveller. Until Lightning McQueen is bogged in the dirt. We decide he’s to be winched out. I’m about to do it, when I hear, “I’ll do it, Dad.” The joy of seeing him take control of his play, watching him be responsible in discharging his cares.
Blessedness is achieved as quick as it takes to slow down. Darrell Bock says blessing rests on “one who is the object of grace and happy because of it.” Simply knowing we’re objects of grace, having received such undying favour, makes us bristle with joy.
Blessedness is close being a parent absorbed in our children’s lives.
Each moment in our children’s lives is an eternal glimpse into irretrievable memory. In years to come we will know we had these experiences, but our memory will betray us.
There is no time but the present.

Monday, March 6, 2017

What I’d Wish I’d Known at 19

At 25 years, in 1992.
Ever wished you’d known something before you stepped into it? Many times, I’m sure.
But there’s a problem with knowing things before we step into them. If we knew what we were about to step into we would never step.
Thirty years on from the time I was 19, there are some things I wish I’d known back then. The trouble is had I known now what I wish I’d known then, I would not have had the tenacity to do the ensuing thirty years.
God knows we need life to be a mystery, or we would never do what He is calling us, through our lives, to do. It’s like getting near the end of any journey; at precisely the same time we feel as if we’ve come too far to give up, yet we may feel we cannot take another step. Then we experience the exhilaration of having achieved something.
At 19 I wish I had have known:
1.      That life doesn’t ever get easier, and although there are easier seasons, life tends to get tougher the older we get. This is okay if we’re accepting of such a reality and are committed to growth — growth in many ways as a survival mechanism, where thriving is the only way to survive. God knows we can do it. Our hope is that one day we will find out it was perfectly worth it.
2.      Once we have children our susceptibility to vulnerability doubles overnight. They can be taken from us. They don’t enjoy it when we’re doing a good job of parenting. They are work, work, work, which wears us parents down. And they leave the nest. Finally, when most of the hard work is done, they cease needing us (which we recognise is bittersweet).
3.      Some of the most painful life tests occur in our twilight years. What compounds this is we can fall for the temptation, that, because we’re in our twilight years, we’ve got our stuff sorted. But we never do. Humiliation can seem fitted more to those of advanced years than those of youth. And that’s a hard truth to swallow. Humiliations as a youth were hard, and possibly traumatic, but I’m sure they didn’t shake me to my core as they do when I’m older.
4.      Despair is a real thing. It teaches us deeper truths about hope, but despair must still be endured. At nineteen I didn’t endure anything without escaping. And escaping seemed to work… until it no longer did. At least I know now that, in bearing reality, there is no need of escaping — a Christ highlight.
5.      Christ. I wish I’d known Christ like I do now. I would need to wait another four years to be converted, but it was to be another seventeen years before I would really receive His Spirit. Before I was 36 I was an escape artist. Though I had many fond experiences, it was a waste of time, and that life was ultimately taken from me.
6.      Human nature. I wished I had known about the reciprocal nature of humanity, that we get what we give. I wished I also had known the unpredictable nature of humanity, that we often don’t get what we deserve — both in good and bad ways. Justice is patchy in this life. That’s a wisdom I could have done with thirty years ago.
7.      Memories. Their importance. We don’t record what we really would wish to preserve. And we may preserve that which we need no record. The older I get, the more I wish I could time travel. I have less need of knowledge (in a knowledge age!), because I have experience, which I think is more. Precious experience loaded with precious memories that are hardly retrievable in the computer speed I would wish to have them.
8.      Soon my body and mind won’t work as well as they once did. What a shock this is! I cannot do that which I once took for granted. My body has the aches and pains of an athlete, yet athletic pursuits are largely a thing of the past. Since burnout in 2005, my brain is wired differently. I’m a linear thinker when life seems to demand I be a multi-tasker. The older I get, the less instantly pliable is my mind. I reflect well, but instinctive responses are a weakness. But at least my mind knows how to deliver what is on my heart. I know how to care for people. I had no need of caring for others when I was nineteen.
Maybe it’s good we don’t know what’s ahead of us.