Friday, August 28, 2015


In a talk to Christian teenagers, The Revd Dr David Field suggests that slow down, be still, pay attention and give ourselves, and more specifically that, we attend to our PIE, PO, FAG:


(Our attention is limited. Life is about what we give ourselves to. Attention is a precious gift).

Position – where? When? – where are we in the story of the universe? - Missionary, Jim Elliot, in his journals said: “Wherever you are, be all there” – be present here now, breathing – don’t live in the past nor in the future

Identity – who are you? – appearance? Posessions? (a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of posessions) – Titus 3 – achievements? Connections? Reputation? – what others think of me? What I think others think of me? – 2 Cor 5:17 – In X, new creation! – Jn 15, Jesus’ friend, a friend of the king of kings – Rm 8, God is my father, I am a child of the almighty creator God, a slave / solider of Christ, in the image of God, X’s sheep, (part of) the bride of Christ etc.

Environment – who or what is with you / surrounds you? So often surrounded by noise, colours, flicking images! – Who is above, beneath, below, in front of and behind you? – who is our only real circumstance? The one who is around us. In him we live and move and have our being. Ps 139. God is inescapable. Nicholas Herman, Brother Lawrence, 17th C monk, Practicing the presence of God. God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Realising the presence of God. The company we keep affects us. Ps 16. 2 Tim 4 – The Lord stood by my side. J promised to be with us (by his Spirit). Coram Deo – Luther, all life lived before the presence of God.   

People – relate to others – attend to them – don’t interrupt! – listen! – don’t just mentally prepare what you are going to say next – make every effort to hear what someone is saying, try to think what it is like to be them and to understand them – look at them, listen to the pace and tone of the words, the gap between them, watch. Stand in someone else’s shoes, put yourself in their position. Why did someone do that? What is driving them? – Jesus became incarnate, he chose to stand in our nature. He really understands. He sympathises. (Hebrews) Jesus even welcomes little ones, Mk 10. Jesus gives them the gift of attention.

Objects – 1 Tim 4 – all stuff is good and not to be rejected if received with thanksgiving. Amazement – wow, it’s so much richer than I thought. Notice the different colours. Stop and notice. Really taste the wine. Attend to detail. No two noses are identical. We live in a fantastically rich world of sights, tastes, touches, smells, sounds etc. The wonder of a toddler. Relish. Heaven above is deeper blue… something lives in every hue, Christless eyes have never seen. Look at the lines in your hand. Gratitude. Contentment. The hedonistic fallacy – x will make me happy. Buyer’s remorse then boredom. We are much richer than we think. Nietzsche – “possessions are generally diminished by possession”. The generosity of God. Taste something really slowly today.

Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes – with her toddler, dog, suergeon, sign-writer, geologist, architect etc. noticing different things

Feelings – be aware of emotions and pay attention to them – one of the best ways to get rid of an emotion is to get rid of it – curiosity can drive out happiness. Why am I feeling like this? Step away. We are not simply our emotions. Try not “I am sad” but “I feel sad”. Don’t identify with your emotions – interrogate them. Which of these ambush us and why? Self-pity, envy, grumpiness, anger, fear. What do we say to ourselves when these emotions confront us? How can we counter them? Help the police with their enquiries into these negative emotions. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Sometimes we do well to ask ourselves, why are you angry? Why are you grumpy? Etc. Jesus wept – it is not a sin to be sad. Righteous sadness is not the worst thing in the world.   

Activities – what are you doing?

God – Give yourself to God. Between ascension and Pentecost, sit in the city and wait. Sometimes it’s important to do nothing. “Quiet time”. What is the Bible saying to me? How should I pray in the light of it? What difference should this make to my day? Space for the echoes of the word of God. Where will the water flow? God gives us sleep & Sabbath. Wilderness – X, Moses. Find a point when you can be quiet in the presence of God with your Bible.  

Bill Bright, founder of US Campus Crusade for Christ, “spiritual breathing” – breathing out as a sign of repentance of sin, breathing in as a prayer for filling with the Holy Spirit

Ps 46
Calming of the storm
Mary & Martha – Lk 10
Ecc 5
Eph 5 – wise living is careful being aware, circumspection

To remember PIE PO PAG we might think of a red telly tubby eating a delicious handheld meal with a pastry crust and then smoking a 1970s cigarette.

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