It is hard to believe that the first week of our trip Down Under is over. Much to my discouragement the weather here in Sydney has been cold and wet – not much fun for Black Stump where most of the speaking was in tents. I came back to my mother’s with very muddy shoes and feeling i needed to dry out before embarking on the next part of our trip.
However we still thoroughly enjoyed the festival – an opportunity to reconnect to old friends like John and Glenna Smith as well as to make new ones like Ash Barker and Jim Reiher from UNOH (Urban Neighbours of Hope). I also loved the emphasis on social justice issues. Lots of fair trade tea, coffee and chocolate. Lots of talk about issues of slavery, poverty and human rights. We spoke mainly in the TEAR Australia tent. The only disadvantage was that in the background they were making rice and dahl for lunch and the wonderful aroma wafted through our speaking area tantalizing our senses.
We are really looking forward to speaking at the UNOH conference this weekend and from there i will fly to Launceston Tasmania for a week while Tom stays in Melbourne where he will be working with World Vision. We then drive to Adelaide together and spend a week at tabor College before flying back to Sydney for the last week of our trek. Hard to keep all the bits and pieces in the air but hopefully we will all be at the right place at the right time.
One of the things I really enjoy about a trip like this is that it stretches my understanding of God and of what it means to be a person of Christian faith. I realize that it is very easy for me and in fact for all of us to put up barriers to listening to people and perspectives that are different from our own. A trip like this blows out the cobwebs for me and helps me to see a bigger and more incredible God than I ever thought possible.
This does not mean that I unconditionally accept everything I hear but it does force me to think, to analyse and to reflect. It also forces me to go back to the Bible to to see what it really says about a variety of issues from poverty to women’s rights and what it means to be holy. My thinking is constantly changing which can make me feel a little insecure at times but the great part is that it helps me to see that God is far bigger and more impressive than I ever thought.
Part of what I realize is that whenever we think we understand God we limit God’s ability to reveal himself to us and we limit our understanding of the awe inspiring nature of God. Not that we can ever understand God – in fact the longer I am a Christian the less I feel I understand God – which I am sure is healthy because I realize that it is rather arrogant of me to think that I could ever understand the creator of the entire universe.
Anyhow I am probably rambling here. Hopefully as I continue to travel I will be able to more coherently express what i am thinking here particularly as it relates to my interest in interpreting our daily activities as spiritual practices.