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Jesus, Fireflies and Bonfires- Part 3

Who doesn’t love a good story? As a boy I grew up in the countryside and in the absence of video games, mobiles phones and the internet I regularly had moments with friends where we would sit in wonder with the sound-effects of crickets and the soft glow of fireflies all around us, listening to rich stories. We covered our faces, we cried, we shouted when things got exciting. I was involved in the physicality of the story. My mind was always alive, imagining the scenarios. But what makes a story epic? I know for many people a great story is all about the plot. What is the sequence of things that are important? For others a good story is sometimes about the rules. What commands are important. What is the secret code that needs to be unlocked perhaps? Maybe a good story is all about me. It’s about my personal enrichment; so we ask ourselves questions like, 1. How can I live a better life. 2. What are some of the things that are …

Jesus, Secrets and Lies- Part 2

Okay confession. One of the things  I fear more than life itself is the thought of letting people down. It’s one of those relics that has stayed with me from a time when I had very little control over my life. Growing up, I lived in an environment that was built on a lot of pain; physically and emotionally; and so one of the ways I learned to cope was by presenting a picture of emotional wellness that was actually really really far from reality.  Just the possibility of being seen in someones eyes as less of a person was super difficult and so whenever I found myself  in a conversation with someone, I always imagined this other Joel standing there smiling, with  a sort of glassy  tension behind his eyes and a restrained painful laugh that was reactive, but incredibly hollow. I’ve literally spent most of my life always mentally cutting and editing my conversations before they went  LIVE.  I was always very noticeably thinking of the next step, always straining  to keep this virtual reality version …

7 things I’ve learnt- An open letter to Joel Duntin

Last night my wife and I had a good ole chin wag about everything and nothing. The topic on this particular occasion was, “people born in 1992?” Hmmmm! What was I doing in 1992!? Well you’d be delighted to know that my beard stroking moment became the end of a perfectly fine evening. After that point, things very quickly got way out of hand. Short of rolling on the floor with my thumb in my mouth I have to say I wasn’t a pretty sight for 2 minutes or thereabouts (Sallee would possibly suggest that  it was significantly  longer than that).  Many things crossed my mind while I was writhing on the floor in mental anguish, including: Maybe the time had come for me to invest early – invest right now –  in a walking stick. Maybe the time had come for a man to accept that “the ancient one” shall be my new name. Well, a good nights sleep sorted out all that malarkey. But it did give me some food for thought.  So …

Stories: Everyone has one

There are heaps of people logging on to social networks this morning and leaving deflated. Everyone else’s lives look so incredibly amaaaazing. Wow! Her Instagram pictures are so full of life and colour. He’s  looks like he’s having fun. Luckeeee! She is so funny when she tweets. She must have a million followers. Human beings are such excellent artisans. No matter what’s going on in our lives, we have that ability to filter our 24 hrs into something amazing, to present the world with the edited version of ourselves. We ask people “How was your day?” They in turn reply  “Good!”  Liar! Actually your manager crapped all over your desk this morning and you are angry.  Very angry. Sharing our true selves is not the easiest thing. Often and especially in religious culture, there is an unfortunate expectation that 24 hrs a day, one ought to live their life to a certain gold standard and to deviate or have a life that was less than perfect would result in punishment of the severest kind. So …