Thursday, 8 February 2007

How to make friends and meet new (intresting) people

Lets face it we were created for Fellowship. Vertically God with man. Horizontally with each other. Yet we know its not always easy.

We sometimes wonder whether everyone we meet is out to fleece us, betray us, drag us down the aisle just by exchanging the common pleasantry of "Good morning" or marry us for our money/looks/brain etc. Yet the Bible says he who seeks friends should show himself friendly and being friendly involves taking a risk. Taking a risk to be civil, to give a smile or a word of encouragement. Isn't that what church is meant to be about?

It isn't easy initiating/maintaining open/honest/accountable relationships that might lead to lifetime friendships/marriages/or maybe a good friend but nothing ventured an old saying goes - nothing ventured.

Some of our brothers in church say its not easy to be friendly with women as they risk being misconstrued. That's life- I shrug if someone misinterpret es a gesture of friendliness you say to yourself - well that was that person and I wont let that stop me from reaching out to people. I would rather be myself than risk missing out on making new friends. I try and shrug rejection off sometimes and adopt a stoical approach. Who knows- for everyone who doesn't want to talk to you there are many others who are praying for someone of your depth, experience and Xtian maturity to come into their life.

Regarding our men I would like to pose the question - What's the worst that could happen if you tried to be more friendly ....even if you get ignored, misconstrued, some one treats you like how dare you have the nerve to come up and say hi to me.......hey win some you lose some. Doesn't that say more about their level of maturity than yours. Selah.

Some of the best friends I have made in Church are people I walked up to and started a conversation with.

OK lets not pull any punches. In some of our churches men and women don't communicate. They might ogle each other during services, ignore each other, wonder what it might be like to date or even get married each other, work alongside each other in the same children's church for years but communicate? That seems to be a bit problematic. It reminds me of those old Victorian dramas where people related to members of the opposite sex in stilted awkward tones and relied upon (their parents, elders, pastors etc) to do any kind of match matching. Sound vaguely familiar?

Where are the avenues for healthy communication in our churches? Singles fellowships are good but some times its a rushed gathering and not enough time is left for people to get to talk to each other. Discussions are very helpful and educative but sometimes like in words of the old BT advert - its good to talk. You can see how eager people are to chat when they do have the chance- its like the minute they step out of singles fellowship they revert to going back into their shells and put their masks back on.

I observe the younger singles in church and find it quite refreshing the way they interact normally with each other in an unfettered way which opens the door for building healthy and godly relationships between the sexes which gives way for people to learn from each other. Maybe the over thirties can learn from them?
I wonder sometimes - if you don't talk to us how are you ever going to know how differently the sexes think, react to things, what drives them etc - or do you think that when when you start going out with someone, that knowledge will just come to you by divine revelation? That's why you guys need to talk to us ( we might give you the tips you need to recognise that woman of your dreams !)
In all honesty - not every attempt at friendliness by a female is a sign of desperation or a covert attempt to hunt you down as a husband. Sometimes a person is just being friendly.

Note for the men - Try saying hello to a member of the opposite sex after church this Sunday you might be pleasantly surprised. We like decent conversation too and surprisingly its not just about hair, nails, 'Big Brother' or the latest plot on ' Desperate Housewives' (if you are are desperate enough to watch that kind of stuff). We might be able to tell you what we think about the war on terror, the innocents dying in Afghanistan and Iraq or whether Steve McClaren is a better replacement on Sven for the English Football team.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

The Gift of Time and Life

The year is young ........if it was a child it would be clasped tight to its mother's breast, blinking away still trying to see.

As we slip into the second week in Feb and I begin to realise that this year is racing along - no ..I take that back. The word racing makes you think of something quite evident- that you notice happening. This year conjures up the image of a hour glass- and as the golden sand gently seeps from the upper chamber into the second- its effort less, smooth so smooth that you dont know its happening and how time trudges on remorsely - just as it did the day before and will do today. The gift of life and the gift of time are things that are intangible yet of indefinable and unquantifiable. Last week I resolved to try my best to make the best of every day, thank God for it and do something towards achieving my dream - to become a published writer.

Why last week you may well ask. That's when I found out that a good friend had gone to be with the Lord. A young woman full of dreams, goals and plans for the future. One whom we shared dreams, had the usual kind of chat and the occasion moan about our single state, work, life and all that stuff.

So lets live life to the fullest. Just as my friend did. I believe she maximised the 36 years she spent on this earth. Its made me think about how Im maximising the gifts of time and life God has given me. Some of the things that were such a big deal suddenly begin to look less unimportant in the light of eternity.