Thursday, 20 August 2009

Monkeys, trees and friends

Catching up with friends is always good. Whether it is walking and talking looking at trees at the arboretum or monkeying around at Bristol Zoo. No man, or indeed woman, is an island we all need friends and family to love us and to support us in what we are doing. Even God realized he could not live alone and chose to live in community with Jesus and the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity. God extends the hand of love which He reaches out to humanity asking for us to live in community with Him. Some of us fully embrace His out stretched arms, others turn and run the other way or simply fail to see Him. You can be the most loving person in the world but what use is that love if you cannot share it with another? You can be the funniest person in the world, but what use is laughter when you have no one to laugh with? Love and laughter are better shared. So too are tears and heartache. Spirituality is about drawing close to God and sharing our love, our laughter, our highs and our lows and all our longings with God. But there is also something about sharing it with others. The church is the community of God. It is the people rather than the building. It is the church's responsibility to offers the hand of God to those who do not know Him. But yet so often it fails to do this. I long for a church that embraces the outcast, that is in touch with the real world and wants to get their hands dirty. Am I living in a dream world? Or is this a vision of the Kingdom of God?

I have been blessed this last week by monkeys, trees and more importantly some very good friends. I have laughed at the monkeys, stood in awe at the trees and have shared these experiences with friends who have also hugged and loved me. So where is God in all of this fun and friendship? He is right there with me. Enjoying the monkeys and the trees and embracing the friendships. I guess I should mention that the tree and the monkey friends are actually all female ministers - I also managed to speak to another three this week either in person or on the telephone! We are all trying to work out our callings in light of our femininity. We are all trying to be ourselves in a church that is dominated by male leadership but yet filled predominantly with females. A church that many men feel is effeminate. What can we bring to the church or perhaps more importantly what can we bring to those who feel rejected by the church, those who feel they don't fit in or those who feel the church is irrelevant? We bring ourselves - women who are searching for God's heart in our daily lives. Women who want to serve to the best of our ability. Women who are prepared to stand up and say, 'I am a women minister, called by God equipped to serve His church.' Two of us are still looking for a church where we can serve God and work out that calling.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Welcome to the world of Jo where spirituality and hilarity hold hands. Well at least that is the aim. Humour has always been important to me and whilst I am not a stand up comedian I do like to make people laugh. Humour can be enjoyed by all. Young or old, rich or poor and what ever our ethnicity. However what one person finds funny another does not. Humour can cause offence but it can also cross divides. Humour helps to build relationships. Indeed it is intrinsic to humanity. Where would we be if we couldn't laugh at ourselves on occasions?

But what of spirituality? Spirituality can be many things to many different people. It is not exclusive to the Christian and nor should it be. Spirituality is a search for something deeper. Be that God or something else to fill the gap. In the world of Jo spirituality is a search in which I endeavour to connect with God. I do this in many different ways but it normally involves prayer and reflecting on Scripture or perhaps a Christian book. Worship, nature, art, and interaction with friends are also important in my own spirituality.

Spirituality without humour seems dull to me. Why paint a picture with only half of the colours in the paintbox? Colour brings a painting to life and in the same way humour brings spirituality to life. In the world of Jo humour is painted a vibrant pink. Sometimes it just decorates the edges but most of the time it is the colour of the flower that is bursting into bud in the foreground of life.

I like to laugh and in the world of Jo spirituality and hilarity are inseparable. Humour is one of the ways that God uses to get my attention. Humour draws me closer to God. It reminds me of my humanity and that I am made in God's image. God likes to laugh and I like nothing better but to laugh with him. Not just a gentle chuckle but a full blown giggle and on occasion a real belly laugh. I hope that this blog will help you to explore your own spirituality and to laugh with me as I journey deeper in my own exploration of spirituality and hilarity. It may even be fun!