Archive for the ‘Generosity’ Tag

Growing Hope   Leave a comment

imgres       Family movie night at New Life yesterday and we saw a really interesting movie ” Where Hope Grows.”  (in the course of this blog I may stray into “spoiler” territory if and when I do so I will proceed this with the word SPOILER and you should stop reading at that point to avoid information that might spoil the movie for you). This is the latest offering from such movies as Courageous and Fireproof. Calvin Thompson is a single father living with his seventeen year old daughter Kate. He was a major league baseball player until his lack of performance resulted in him being kicked off the team . Since then his life has spiralled out of control, fueled largely by the contents of a bottle. At his local supermarket he meets a young man with Downs Syndrome who takes pride in his nick-name -Produce and, of course, he is responsible for the fruit and vegetable displays in the store. The movie chronicles the relationship between Calvin and this grocery store employee, Produce as they become friends and their lives become intertwined. SPOILER

 

The movie begins by revealing a number of lives largely devoid of hope. Calvin with no hope of any direction, Katie without hope of any change in her father, and Produce with no hope of becoming employee of the month! Calvin sees in Produce, however, an uncanny ability to remain cheerful and positive in any situation and in the end asks Produce what his secret is.  Produce never articulates any details but in time asks Calvin if he will give him a lift to church and suggests he might come in. Inevitably Calvin declines choosing rather to join his friend on the golf course. During their round his best friend confronts him as a loser detailing his lack of purpose since leaving the major leagues . Calvin’s violent response leads him into a freefall drunken binge resulting in him lying, passed out on baseball field having missed an interview for a job. As the story proceeds Calvin tentatively approaches Alcoholics Anonymous and things begin to change.

I won’t disclose any more but there are a number of notable aspects of the story. Produce gives a powerful picture of unconditional love as only a person with downs syndrome can. Anyone who has been in contact with one of these wonderful people will inevitably be engulfed in their effortless and irrepressible affection and cheerfulness. For Produce hugs are the order of the day and, as he engages Calvin in unconditional friendship it is hard to avoid being reminded of the unconditional love we are offered in Jesus. When he was asked his secret I wondered, is there anything in my life as a follower of Jesus that would prompt that  question of me?

The movie ends not with a death-bed conversion or dramatic life changes (although the end is not what I expected!) but rather in a place where all those who had no hope at the beginning of the story are granted a glimmer of that hope. Kate has her father back, and Calvin has a job. It would seem they have joined Produce at church so we see the seeds of faith beginning to sprout! Yes there is hope for Produce too, but if you want to know about that you will have to see the movie!

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Posted August 29, 2015 by jolm15 in Movies

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Community Costs!   Leave a comment

The following is an extract from a blog (you can read the full text here). The opening describes a wonderful wedding where all aspects off the wedding were provided by the couples friends. Wonderful yes but not that unusual you might say. I agree but these thoughts that follow I believe really challenge us to think about the day to day practical meaning and cost of living the life described in Acts 4:32-35. So often when I read these verses I ask myself what would “everything in common” really look like today, I think this at least gives food for though in answering the question…

 …You see, it’s now one week on and our shoulders are still aching from the lifting and carrying of chairs, drinks, tables and amps. The photographer is still selecting and touching up photos for their album (not that the beautiful couple need it, of course). And, I would wager, that most people involved have found themselves still sneaking the odd yawn or tired glance at the clock in the last few days to see if it’s bedtime yet. 

Living in community sounds great! So Christians often look to Acts  and aspire to the type of living that “shared and sold possessions to give to anyone in need” or “had everything in common”. 

It sounds amazing, like a glimpse of heaven. Yet we often stop short. We blame the modern pace of life, or practical issues like work, family, the mortgage. We tell ourselves: “It’s a nice idea, but we probably need to re-contextualise it for a 21st century view of community”.

And yet, in reality, I wonder if it’s just too hard and we’re too scared to admit it.

When you share or sell possessions, you decide that those things you own aren’t yours anymore and you no longer own them. Skills and talents can be the same; they belong to everyone and are there to be shared. Being together means not being elsewhere – and that can be costly. It includes being present when you are together and not caught up in emails, social media or some other phone-based pursuit. Holding everything in common means letting go of some of your own pre-conceptions, firmly held ideas and ways of doing things. It also means taking time to listen, allowing others the chance to shape the direction of your community and help point to the future. 

And so we read Acts, longingly wishing there was just a way we could get there, and perhaps secretly hoping we never have to. Saving ourselves from the hard work, late nights, tough conversations, aching shoulders – all the tough stuff really living in community might cost us.

So what do you think, does that help to make it real and are we willing to count and pay the cost?

The above is taken from a  a multi author blog entitled “threads”

Posted October 10, 2014 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

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