Posts

Why are you still here?

I've found myself in many places within the Christian context recently that has asked the question, Why are you you still here (in church)? Why are you still a Christian? What made you stay connected to faith and church when many others your age left? Why are you still at church?

This question has been answered in the context of ministry to young people, what makes people stay in church and how do those in ministry enable space for those to ask these questions and consider what it means for them to leave or stay?

When I was first asked this question my answer was obligation. I stayed in church because I was leading in children's and youth ministry and didn't know how to get out of the commitment. I didn't want to let people down.  So I served, in any and all the ways I could to try and find faith in the leadership opportunities.  Eventually I think the answer became more than obligation. I stayed connected to the church because I was drawn to community and to a place o…

With the children...

"Well, it must be so fun and full of joy to always get to play with children for your job. Colouring in, bubbles and craft, I have the older ones-  teenagers, they are starting to have the real issues, its difficult, doing what I do, it  must be for easy and fun for you."

This was the start of a conversation I found myself in the other week, in that moment I had a choice of responses to make, I could either;
A) Smile and agree
B) shut them down, argue and tell them about the 'real issues' I had faced with the children in my care in that last fortnight.
C) smile and tell them how its not always that simple and easy but how its a privilege to walk alongside and listen to children in the joy of colouring in and the pain of life.

I chose option C.  Even though I really wanted to take option B and get all 'real issues' on them. 

You see it really is a privilege to walk alongside and listen to children, and sometimes it is fun and games and full of bubbles and craf…

This is Me - A struggle for identity

It seems that there comes a time when the question of identity is foundational in moving to the next step of adulthood.  I started this year really confident, sure of who I was and called; ready to face the next part of my life.  However what came next I wasn't ready for. I wasn't ready to be told my next adventure involved waiting and learning to articulate better. I didn't realise that this would throw me off completely, sending me into a quarter life crisis, leaving me asking questions of my identity in many different ways.

I found myself nose-deep in books about theology and found myself for the first time actually researching and reading in an attempt to understand what I was thinking.  I have found myself stripping back my commitments in hope of finding where my passions beat most strongly.  I have left communities and friendship groups that made me feel like I needed to disguise who I truly thought I was called to be, in order to feel more free. 

It has been during th…

The day I found my voice

For some of you who know me really well, you might be thinking, Nicole has always had a voice. But I want to tell you, this weekend I found my voice. It wasn't really lost, but it wasn't confident. It was hidden behind the fear of being judged or boxed a certain way.

This weekend just gone we had the Presbytery and Synod meeting for the SA Uniting Church.  This is the business and governance (or AGM) meeting for the whole church.   I have been a member for a number of years at this meeting, but haven't really spoken on matters at the microphone.  This weekend, I went to the mic, not just once, but 4 or 5 times.

Now, you might just say, well yeah, that's the process, you were just doing due diligence to the role and reason you were at the meeting.  You are right but let me explain a little more about why it was important for me to find my voice.

During the first day of the meeting, in smaller working groups, I cautiously and nervously shared my thoughts.  Under the brea…

Where is the Love?

There is a lot going on in the world at the moment.  It seems messy, confusing, chaotic and hurtful.  Asylum seekers without a home, starving and dying in waiting. The outcome of a survey being fought over. Climate change affecting people's homes.  Terrorism and gun violence a daily occurrence.  Young people seeking someone to notice them, young people seeking someone to care, young people crying out. Mental health issues increasing, sexual assault and violence, domestic violence.  War. Poverty. Pain. Hurting. Where is the Love? 

We hear the cries but are we actually listening? Do we actually hear the cries of the people around us? Do we hear the cries of the world? Do we hear the cries of the voiceless? Do we hear creations cries?
Are we listening to the prophetic voices in our world?
As I was driving to youth drop in this afternoon from school, the song 'Where is the Love?' by Black Eyed Peas came on the radio.  As I listened to the lyrics, I found myself in tears, listenin…

Balance

As a child I was often considered clumsy. I often drop things, I trip over, I constantly have bruises from bumping into doors, cupboards, etc. I'm not exactly a model of balance. 
What I really need in my life right now though is balance.  Not so much the ability to not walk into door frames or stand up straight, although that would be helpful. But balance in all that I am doing and managing in life.  
You see recently I over-committed and it wasn't until I was in the thick of it that I realised what a terrible mistake it was.  4 days work in something I absolutely live, but takes a lot of emotional energy, 3 subjects in a Bachelor of Ministry (75% load - full time equivalent), kids club, youth drop in and small group leading, community outreach/drop in at shops, youth ministry nights at my church. Its all a bit too much in a week.  But it gives me life - mostly. But socially it isolates me. 
Living and doing ministry in Naracoorte was isolating for me and some really wise peo…

Dear White Middle Class Christians...

Dear White Middle Class Christians,

I hate you and I hate everything about you. I've spent the last 3 months really frustrated by you.  Maybe even angry at you.  I am annoyed by the God you supposedly believe in - its not the God I know, the God who cares for all people. The God who sent His Son to walk among the broken and the sinners.
I feel like you just don't understand the privilege you actually sitting in. You talk about going out into the world and serving others, but you really just mean the people that are like you and people who would be willing and have the resources to contribute in your circles.  You talk about brokenness and hardship and reference war and poverty in Africa, you don't understand that in the streets around you there are people faced with the same everyday.  You talk about your own hardships as if something really awful has happened, but the reality of the situation is that you just had a bad day and need a nap because you are grumpy.  You talk …