The Guys at Nomad Podcast are doing a brilliant series of Christmas specials – 12 Podcasts for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. They have got some brilliant guests who are all giving some short (10-15 min) reflections on Christmas. Well worth a listen. (Dave Andrews, Phylis Tickle, Greg Boyd and Jenny Baker to name but 4)
The image featured here is of one of the reflections by David Benjamin Blower. His Book and Album ‘Kingdom vs Empire‘ is brilliant and really resonates with the Breathe theme of ‘Less Stuff, More Life’. One of the Chapters/Songs from this work touches on the themes of Consumerism and how we have arguably allowed advertisers to ‘raise our Children’! It’s challenging, but also thought provoking stuff.
Anyway, Have a listen to his NOMAD reflection (complete with Music)
Happy Christmas from Breathe
May you Stop, Breathe, Relax and Smile this Christmas
Great blog from the always brilliant Jeremy Williams
Originally posted on Make Wealth History:
This week I’m reading a new book by James Wallman, called Stuffocation, in which he argues that there is a cultural shift away from materialism underway. The idea that a good life is measured in possessions is slowly passing into history. I suspect he is right, and as Chris Goodall has highlighted, there is evidence to suggest we have hit ‘peak stuff‘.
There are probably more, but here are ten reasons why I think that the future may be less materialistic.
1) Our needs are met. You don’t have to go back very far in Britain to remember that we didn’t always have everything we needed or wanted. There are plenty of people alive today who remember rationing. If you grew up with scarcity, it’s understandable to measure progress in material terms. If you were born into plenty, you might measure success in different ways.
View original 499 more words
Christmas Films! Jon Kurht still thinks this classic is the best, Full Stop!
Originally posted on Resistance & Renewal:
In my view,It’s a Wonderful Lifeis not the best Christmas film ever. It is simply the best film ever, full stop.
Released in 1946, the film focuses on the life of a man called George Bailey (James Stewart) who lives in the small town of Bedford Falls. George intends to ‘shake off the dust of this crumby little town’ and get away to see the world and achieve great things. Yet through tragedy and his own sense of responsibility, he ends up spending his entire life in Bedford Falls running the building cooperative that his late father established.
He sacrifices a lot. He ends up giving the college money he has saved to his younger brother so he can go to university instead of him. During the depression he and his new wife give their honeymoon funds to keep the ‘Building & Loan’ going. All the…
View original 825 more words
We Love this idea of living generously during Advent
Originally posted on Bright Lights and Buttons:
This year I am trying something new, I am going to do advent differently. Instead of giving myself an advent calendar, my challenge is to do something generous each day.
‘Doesn’t sound as much fun as a chocolate for breakfast!’ I hear you say but I’ll be honest I have been surprised by how much I am enjoying it so far. (Maybe ask me on the 20th if it’s still going well!)
Each day of advent this year I am going to do something generous with / for someone else. So far this looks like:
-buying the Big Issue from the seller outside the Coop
-cooking dinner for lovely friends
-buying breakfast for a kind colleague
Tomorrow I’m taking a bag of clothes to my local Ty Hafan charity shop, and the day after that… who knows! My hope is that in doing this, I can instil a habit of…
View original 103 more words
We live in an age of instant access and gratification. But as we now enter the season of Advent, could the lost art of waiting, being still, being patient, be a thing of wonder that we need to rediscover?
I want it all and I want it now
Last Friday we witnessed scenes of chaos in our stores and on our screens as ‘#BlackFriday unfolded. The pursuit of a consumer bargain literally driving people into the wall as if nothing else mattered. It was deeply shocking and deeply saddening to see it. It also raised big questions about the lengths we go to in pursuing the consumer dream and what our underlying values are as a society. Patience was definitely not the name of this game, and as for waiting, no chance. After the fast paced frenzy of Friday I am glad that we have #GivingTuesday and Advent to help us slow down, reflect and divert our attention a little in a different direction.
A fruit of the Spirit
Patience can be a virtue and is also a flavour or outworked demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) but it seems in the age in which we live, where we both expect and crave for the instant, that patience is something that we often do not like the taste of.
Waiting in this season of Advent is something that we are now seldom used to, but just like the concept of the Biblical Sabbath, waiting, stopping, being patient and not having instant results is something that I think we now arguably need to relearn the art of.
Prepared to be patient – The Lesson of Wimbledon
Andy Murray highlighted the art of patience and working hard for something in the way he persisted in pursuing his Dream of winning Wimbledon in 2013. Years of heartache and set back came to fruition last Summer. And throughout the Wimbledon fortnight fans were very happy to queue up for many hours, even overnight just to get a ticket to enter the grounds. As well as all of us watching at home, being patient. The experience, the conversations in the queue, the journey to getting into the grounds, in a small way is just like Andy Murray’s journey, and are all worth it. It seems that when we really do want something or for something really good to happen we are more than prepared to work and wait for it!
Driven by the clock
I realised just how ‘driven’ by time and the clock I was on my first visit to Africa. I was convinced that I was not that task-driven, but how wrong I was. Local people would see it as a great thing if they were late for work or a meeting, because it meant on the way they met with people, stopped to talk and give each other time. Living in London I just know that I so rarely see or practice this, it’s just not the done thing.
Is impatience ever good?
There is a part of me that thinks at times, being impatient can be a good thing. If there is an injustice it seems valid and vital to become impatient about it; not to act would seem inhuman and unjust. At times we need that urgency, that impatience, that stirring, that propels us in a good way to action.
Patience and growth
However, when it comes to spirituality, relationships and much of the important things of life, patience is needed. We do, just like Andy Murray, need to take time to cultivate ways of being, to be patient to learn, grow and develop. Just like the art of growing fruit, we need to care for the plant, giving it time and attention to reap the benefits. This is also the case with discipleship and patience. It’s a hard road at times, but we need to keep going, keep acting, keep cultivating in order to see the fruit.
Patience then really is a virtue and can lead to some great things. May we be patient and expectant this Advent season.
If you need a good resource to help you in this quest then do check out last week’s article by Lydia where there are loads of great links to Advent Journeys and resources.
Brace yourselves – Christmas is almost upon us, or at least that is what the shops have been telling us since Halloween. Surrounded by all the Christmas lights and jingles, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype. But if we focus on Christmas too early, we are in danger of missing the powerful season of Advent – the time of preparation, both for the birth of Jesus, and His return. Darkness becoming light, both now and not yet.
An advent calendar is a classic way of counting down to Christmas – opening each door in eager anticipation to see what is behind it (usually chocolate nowadays!). The Real Advent Calendar is a great option – Fairtrade chocolate, a charity donation, and, in case you’re at risk of forgetting what it is all really about, a booklet of the Christmas story.
However if you feel like you’re too old for one of these this year, there are a few on-line options to help you engage in a more real way with the season of Advent, before getting caught up in the festivities of a joyful Christmas:
A Rocha’s on-line advent calendar – check-out their page each and every day of Advent for life-altering tips and ideas for a greener Christmas and beyond.
Stewardship’s #AdventWonder – In the midst of the consumerist hum Stewardship are inviting you to stop and reflect on the Christmas season in a wholly different way, with their free Advent Wonder email series. Join us as we unwrap the alternative gifts of the season, and explore our own capacity for generosity at Christmas and beyond. Each Monday and Friday throughout December 2014 we’ll send you a new ‘gift’ to ponder and share. Create some space. Join us in a journey of Wonder.
Resistance & Renewals Advent Challenge – R&R shares reflections on how faith relates to transformation and social justice. Download their daily reflections for this season and be challenged and inspired. Christmas is so easily overtaken by busyness, spending and anxiety. These daily reflections will help you to take some time out each day leading up to Christmas to reflect on the person at the heart of the whole celebration. They are grouped in pairs; the ones on the left in blue focus on the destructive values to resist, and the ones on the right in green are those values which bring renewal to us and the world around us. Each day involves 4 steps: a time of silence, a Bible reading, a few sentences to aid reflection and some ideas for prayer. We hope it helps you grab a little bit of R&R this Advent.
The Bible Reading Fellowship’s Advent sampler – BRF is offering a free daily Bible reading comment and reflection to help you explore the season. The sampler offers 28 daily readings drawn from across the five different series of Bible reading notes that BRF publishes. Our hope is that this sampler will help people to read the Bible regularly.
As noted above the season of Advent is a time of preparation. This inevitably includes practical preparations for Christmas. So as you start to plan, don’t forget about the following:
November 29 is Buy Nothing Day – take at least this one day to lock up your wallets and purses, cut up your credit cards and dump the love of your life – shopping.
Rather more extreme, what about doing away with buying presents altogether, and instead make something special, or spend some quality time with your loved ones, rather than rushing up and down the high street desperately trying (and failing!) to find that special something?
Could you boycott Amazon? I have done so for 2 years now and it’s really not that hard! Join Amazon Anonymous’ Amazon Free Challenge.
And when you do have to buy, be a conscious consumer and make it a gift that keeps on giving:
- buy an alternative gift – does the person you are buying for really need another pair of socks or body lotion?? Twinning someone’s toilet is always a conversation starter!
- ensure that the company you buy from treats its workers well and protects our environment – look out for the Fairtrade, Soil Association, FairTax and Leaping Bunny logos, amongst others.
- buy from a charity, so that not only do you get a beautiful gift to give away, you know that you are supporting organisations who are doing amazing work alleviating global poverty and supporting those who can’t support themselves, through no fault of their own.
You will find lots of ideas and links here.
What about matching your spending on presents or food with a donation to charity? If you choose one of the charities involved in this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge, then your matched donation will itself be matched – so your chosen charity gets double! Matching funds will be released at 10am, Thursday 4th December then again at 10am, Friday 5th December and again at 10am, Saturday 6th December. Funds are limited and will run out quickly each day so donate as soon after 10am as possible to be in with a chance of having your donation doubled!
I wish you an inspiring Advent, full of wonder and awe, and pray that being a conscious consumer will lead to even more joy this Christmas!
Ruth Valerio has a great blog and as part of that she is doing a series on ‘Green Living’ . Here is the latest blog on ethical fashion and doing good with clothes
Originally posted on Ruth Valerio:
The other week I bumped into a friend of mine wearing a top I hadn’t seen before. ‘I like your top, is it new?’ I asked. ‘Oh yes’, she said laughingly, ‘it’s just one of those silly things. You know what it’s like: you’re a bit early meeting someone in town so you pop into the shops while you’re waiting and pick up something silly’.
Our conversation left me reflecting on the fashion industry, which, in the UK alone, is worth around £21 billion. Long gone are the days of Little House on the Prairie when Ma – if they could afford it – would make her annual trip into town to buy the calico to make her and her daughters’ new dresses for the year (one new dress each, of course), and when the daughters each got a new pair of hand-knitted gloves as their main Christmas present (seriously…
View original 528 more words