Category Archives: Everything else :)

Decisions, decisions…


It’s been many moons since I last wrote here! I’m keen to share with you a couple of lessons I’ve learned in the time I’ve been engaged. (For some reason that’s popular these days).

Most people have heard of having boundaries in relationships-You know, some kind of “thus far and no further” policy for physical contact. For christians, this seems to be no sex. However, if ‘No sex’ and no further is your policy, you’re in for a bit of confusion. For example, I’ve seen tickling matches working out pretty badly; For some, back massages can be extremely sensuous experiences; Indeed there have been times for me when even hand holding was pushing it, because I had so little self control. I’m not advocating saving hand holding until marriage 😛 . What I am advocating is a little bit of thought.

See, the issue that I’ve had to confront is not the action itself, but the attitude. Typical, huh? Keeping sex until marriage has been saving the best until last-keeping my future marriage special. Any little step closer to sex therefore, could be said to be taking away from the specialness of marriage. Just as I wouldn’t conceive of having an adulterous affair when I’m married, I shouldn’t be able to conceive of doing anything to violate the specialness of my future marriage now. If nothing else, “why am I doing this?” and “why am I thinking about this?” can be enough to derail unhelpful trains of thought/courses of action.

Sex, or “almost sex” doesn’t just happen. Sex is a course of action which results from a series of decisions.

Purity doesn’t just happen. It is a course of action which results from a series of decisions.

Final challenge: If you’re not going to value marriage as special and somehow distinct from other relationship statuses, what’s the point in getting married? Would you spend $20,000 on the big day if the day after will be exactly the same as the day before? Would you vow ” ’til death do us part” if you have divorce as plan B?

No matter what we do in life, occasionally asking “is this worth it?” is never a waste of time.

Christians, Be Careful What You Say On Facebook

I love this post. I don’t even know about the particular controversy it refers to, but I don’t need to. God calls christians to love, and to preach the gospel (and our need for the gospel). While sin needs pointing out sometimes, I don’t see that arrogance and pride aren’t in as much need of God’s grace as any sexual sin.

Let’s do some behaviour analysis!

worshippingHave you ever visited a church where after the band started playing, and the lights were dimmed, you found yourself surrounded by a bunch of people swaying with their eyes closed, waving their arms in the air? You are not alone. This bizarre and apparently inexplicable behaviour is one of the many ways I used to diagnose religious weirdos. But why is it that people engage in this strange display of arm waving? Join me as I explore  a range of contexts where it would be considered normal to use that same kind of gesture.

Case 1: You’re having a pretty good day so far. The guys behind the counter have seen your balaclava and your gun, and have sensibly chosen to put their hands up. That’s good, because you would have shot them otherwise. This gesture is a sign of surrender. It also shows that they’re not trying anything on where you can’t see. It was a real hassle on your last job, when someone pressed the alarm button. So the gesture also shows helplessness: they are unarmed, and at your mercy.

Case 2: You don’t know who designed the shelves in your parents’ study. They’re about at your head height, just low enough that you don’t need to stand on a chair, but high enough that you have to lift your arms above your head to get things down. This makes it a real pain when something’s hard to find, ’cause your arms get sore after a while. In this case, lifting your arms is to reach for something- often something out of your sight.

Similarly, consider when you grope for the light switch in the dark. You cannot see it, so you resort to trying to feel your way. If someone was quietly trying to find you in that dark space, you would only know it  by their touch. Maybe blind man’s bluff is a better example.

Case 3: One of your favourite people skips up to you wearing a cheeky grin. She’s got her arms behind their back. She says “close your eyes and hold out your hands”. Your obedience in this is speedily rewarded with a small trinket you’ve been drooling over. Here holding out your hands is your way of accepting a gift she wants to give you.

Case 4: You’re hanging out with your wife and daughter today. The little one isn’t quite speaking yet, but she has ways of making her wants known. When you come into the room she motions with her arms “up”. It’s hard to tell if she is happy to see you and wants a hug, or is happy to use you to escape  her high chair.

Case 5: There’s some good music playing, and no-one’s around to see you. You dance around and around, with your arms up, just like you’re at a rock concert. Dancing like this is fun!

Case 6: You just one a race. As you ran through over the finish line, you raised your arms ahead in victory!

Case 7: You’re trying on clothes with your sisters, and your younger sister gets stuck in a jersey that’s too small! She waves her arms around wildly as you wrestle it off her, over her head. The bible extensively uses changing clothes as a metaphor for being transformed into a different kind of person, and for being in right standing with God. Isaiah 61: 3; Galatians 3:27; Revelation 3:4-5… 

“a crown of beauty instead of ashes, …, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”-Isaiah 61:3

Thus, it’s possible that in those awkward church scenarios,  when you’re surrounded by christians lifting their arms, that they’re doing any number of these things. They could be surrendering to God, and reflecting on his mercy. They could be reaching for God because they can’t see him. Maybe they long for his touch, or want to accept the gifts God is holding out. Maybe they long for God’s embrace, as a child wants her father’s comforting embrace. Or maybe they just want his help to escape unpleasant circumstances. Maybe they want to enjoy dancing with him. It’s possible that they are glorying in the Lord’s victory… or maybe they want to be transformed by God, and realise they can’t get out of the clothes they’re stuck in without his help.

For me personally, I dance with Jesus. I hug my heavenly Father. I reach out to the Holy Spirit because I can’t see him.

(Thanks to for their kind, involuntary donation of the picture).

Intended audience: control freaks, perfectionists, anxious wrecks, …and everyone else

Hello friends 🙂 It’s been a while.

I’ve done a lot of adventuring this summer. I’ve pretended to be a homeless person, a tourist, a local, someone who knows what she’s talking about, and someone who “has not the foggiest what you’re on about”. It’s been fun and awkward and tiring and awesome. But amongst the role-playing shinanigans, I’ve understood a little more of my role in the scheme of things.

1. What I can do in the world isn’t actually defined by my abilities.

That’s not to say that I’m a fatalistic person who just floats along as the wind blows or a helpless person who can’t contribute to society. I’m not even an anti-self-help guru just claiming “hakuna matata” or whatever it is!. What I’m saying is that every day, I find opportunities that I didn’t put there to do, to give, to speak…to make some kind of difference. And then when I do, give or speak, even if I think I do a terrible job, sometimes it just works anyway! The person gets the maths problem, or understands some truth in the bible that’s never clicked for them before, or they find a place welcome and safe. The defining power behind any success in my life is the Holy Spirit, by the grace of God, so I cannot boast. And God’s grace extends to using my screw-ups for good, and using my “okay”s for good as well. In fact, his grace extends to using everything for the good of those who love him. (No, not miracles! …It’s a bit late now, hey 😛 )

2. It’s okay for me to rest sometimes.

The world won’t stop turning if I chat with friends? The great commission will be completed even if I sit and read for a bit? I don’t have to do everything by myself? Preposterous! I’ve discovered that hey, God keeps working even if stop. I’ve discovered that part of living in community is helping each other out-and letting myself be helped. That one stings. It’s really obvious to you I guess…but it’s really challenging for me to see someone else do the heavy lifting and not offer to have a go…because I know that they know it’d just be my pure blind stubbornness keeping that heavy box/bit of furniture in the air.

3. It’s okay to not have it all sorted out.

It’s common now to have several careers in a lifetime. It’s normal to change your degree (maybe add/swap a major or minor) halfway through. I’m not saying it’s a waste to plan ahead, or see what kind of job you’re suited for. The beautiful thing is though, that we can go out there and find out…we can go out there and make a few mistakes! If God’s who he says he is, he’ll use whatever happens, and use it for our good, to teach us and grow us. Maybe if you don’t have a big plan for your life before you’re 21 you can figure it out as you go along. It’s okay. And maybe if your childhood dreams have all crumbled already you can give them another go. You could even build some new ones! 🙂 That friend, is also okay.

There have been a few themes coming through, right? We understand ourselves more when we see who we are as seen by the living God. It’s a scary thing. It’s something that I find myself wanting to fight sometimes, because I know I’m not the kind of person God wants me to be. But he doesn’t condemn me for my faults, because I’m forgiven. He doesn’t mock me for my failed attempts, but rewards me for trying…and uses them. The God of the bible is big enough to take a look at my life, with all its ups and downs, and smile.

When a battle is won, the people laud the victorious general, but when prayers are answered in situations where God orchestrates human activity, people only see the pawns.

I suppose that could be read in multiple ways: to call down the general population, or the general atheist population…but I find myself convicted. Do I see God’s movement? Do I see how God answers prayer in my own life, and in the lives of those near me? And do I appropriately laud the general?

It’s so easy, especially when I myself am the pawn in question, to celebrate human endeavour, human virtue. But I know I get two different sets of marching orders each day. I get my orders from on high, and I get the counter-intelligence, the decoy orders from…the other guys. I like to think I’m wise for picking the right orders. I like to think I’m oh so accomplished, and oh so disciplined to carry out the orders. But the truth is, for a soldier, discerning which orders come from HQ, and following those orders are just part of the job :).

I am a soldier in Jesus’ army. I may not bear physical weapons (in fact, I intend not to), but I bear spiritual ones. Every prayer is  a powerful weapon, able to bring strongholds tumbling down. :). I follow orders because Jesus’ army is the only one capable of leaving new life, instead of death in its wake.

The question is: where do you get your marching orders? On what basis do you choose to follow them?

Everyone is a soldier.

One evening, a young woman was walking to a nearby town where her eldest sister lived, and she came to a crossroads. One way was a short road, through a dark tunnel, and the other was a longer, winding way, that went around the hill, brightly lit the whole way. She thought it was safe enough, since it wasn’t too late yet, and besides, the way was so short-so she took the tunnel road.

But while she was walking through the tunnel, robbers attacked her, taking everything (even her shoes!) They took her to a cell, and through the bars, a young robber with a hopeful tone promised that if someone paid her ransom she would be freed. An older fellow, with furrowed brows and a very evident holster on his hip elbowed his way in at that point, to promise, in a gravelly voice, that if no-one did come and pay her ransom, she would be killed. Personally. But the lass’s sister was barely scraping by as it was, with everything second-hand, and skipping meals so her children didn’t go hungry…and even in comparison to her eldest sister, the rest of her family couldn’t afford to pay. So when they left her, she huddled into the dark corner of her cell. She huddled, and despaired. And she guessed that that’s the way of the world, to lessen the value of the lives of the poor, anyway. And she realised with a sad smile, that think all she would about it, there was nothing she’d ever be able to do to help the world now. And the snores of her jailers, some soft and easy, and some deeper, more jagged and inconsistent, filled her cell.

But as the night dragged on, and the jailers snored louder and louder, until each breath seemed but an echo of the last, and she clasped her arms together inside her sleeves in a futile attempt to keep warm, she was surprised by a sudden movement in the shadows at her barred door. The was a heavily-hooded figure bearing something that glinted in the dark. Keys. And in a low voice, hushed but not a whisper, he said “Come with me if you want to live”. Clambering to her feet almost ended head over heels as she tripped on nothing in the dark. But she straightened her coat, and untucked her arms, and followed him out of her cell. They went out, silently, he retracing his steps without pause. Just as well, as she’d been blindfolded when she was lead in. It wasn’t until they had left the hideout far behind, and were through the tunnel that she dared to ask “Who are you?”.

Out of the shadows of his hood, an amused smile could be seen in the predawn glowiness. He merely said “I’ll take you to your sisters now, ay?”, and kept walking. And then she worried desperately, now trotting alongside and almost in front of her rescuer, now lagging behind, because as much as she wanted to be safe with her family, would they ever be safe? The robbers had also promised that if she should somehow go missing without a ransom, they would  take great delight in hunting down each member of her family, starting with the children. At least Mr. Eyebrows had gleefully expressed that, with the young man shrugging like it really couldn’t be helped. She turned to look back, wondering if she should just go accept her fate, but then looked forward, hoping desperately that they’d forget about her, or that they’d work out how poor her family were, and not bother. Eventually she stopped walking, and just stood, tears streaming down her face, and her head swinging like a weathervane on a gusty day. But he said “Don’t worry, I’ll take your place. ” And she was glad, and walked on. Glad even though by the socks poking through his shoes, and the toenails poking through his socks, he didn’t have much of a ransom to his name either.

And so she walked with a troubled, but grateful heart, past the first through houses as the sun struck the distant clocktower. 6am. Her sister probably thought she’d decided to leave a day late, and had forgotten to call. She was probably in her dressing gown now, flopping around the kitchen getting the kids’ lunches ready for school. Probably grumbling under her breath about her inconsiderate little sister, but relieved she didn’t have another mouth to feed. So predictable.

They finally got to the old council flat, and at the door, the younger sister threw her arms around the older’s neck, and bawled relief. This was met by an embarrassed hug, followed by questions. Questions that occupied both of them until, getting to the point of her rescuer, they looked out the door, and discovered him gone from where he had been standing by the letterbox a minute before. He had marched off (or rather, strode) off, without thanks of any kind. To his death.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. -1John4:9

Universal Religion

I bet you’re wondering what this post is getting at, already, aren’t you? 😀 Because not everyone has the same beliefs, and not everyone professes the same religion, right???             All in due course.

You see, language reflects people’s beliefs-there have been some influential psychologists historically, actually, who believed language determined thought. So if there’s a word, or turn of phrase that comes easily to your tongue, you can infer that (whether explicitly or implicitly) you believe in it-or that it means something to you.

This argument could open up an interesting can of words if I were talking to people who swore a lot.

But in the meantime, I argue that a large proportion of people-possibly even all- believe in or worship one thing in common.


“I’m so lucky”; “Oh, bad luck”, “Good luck!”; “I’m fortunate that…”…

These ritualistic greetings, and almost codewords reflect a belief in an impersonal force, beyond our reckoning, that turns the world to our advantage, or not. Some believe they can influence this force-that doing certain things will change your luck. Walking under ladders, smashing mirrors, killing spiders…even cutting your toenails at night! These behaviours and beliefs vary from culture to culture, but the core is pretty consistent.

Now, having made you put your back up a little bit, I’ll put it up a little more :).

You see, luck doesn’t equate to probability, which can be measured, and which has mathematical laws governing it. Au contrare, luck is seen to be a fickle beast, unique to each person or situation. Almost as if, say, people were using it as an excuse for lack of skill on their part, or lack of effort. Or almost as if you were trying to make the world a more pleasant place by hoping it would be (for some light, extremely repetitive and amazingly sincere reading on that belief, feel free to pick up a copy of “The Secret” sometime. Then burn it.) The thing is, walking under a ladder does make it more likely for it to fall on you. The thing is, smashing mirrors is a great way to get fragments of glass everywhere. Possibly in you. Let alone the fact that the owner may be a bit miffed (especially if, say, they were the kind of person to whom mirrors are very important).

But the fact is, probability is not determined or influenced by luck. The stars aligning reflects more about how you tilt your head than it does your future, your past, or your personality. Amazing as it may seem, if you randomly select a group of people, you may get a group with the same interests, even the same name, randomly. Because that’s how randomness works. Sometimes statisticians use semi-random sampling just so that they can’t get those crazy random patterns.

And I’m not saying that there isn’t a God who does do stuff. But any god that really is God, wouldn’t be magically swayed by you saying certain words, or have to give you a bad day if you accidentally squash a spider. A real God-the real God in whom I believe-is bigger than all that.

And the thing is…The real thing is, if you don’t believe in luck, don’t follow the religion! Don’t say the codewords. Don’t obey the rituals!

And for goodness’s sake, please think about what you say!



(Image from


Feel free to comment below. Or argue :).

The logical conundra presented by some modern sayings (sounds fancy, ne?)

There’s one group of them that really gets me: “get a life”, or the similar “I need to get a life”.

Obviously this isn’t said about/to actual corpses, because that would be plain weird. But if not life/death kind of life, what do people actually mean when they say this?

Well, since it’s sometimes used to express a kind of freaked-out feeling when a friend is found to be utterly obsessed with something meaningless, or weirdly deluded about one particular thing, one could conclude that it means “a balanced, less crazy lifestyle”. Which is a fair enough thing to wish for for a friend.

And since it’s also used to express concern at a friend’s workaholic or antisocial/hermetic tendencies, this would seem to support that definition,


Who gets to decide what’s a healthy lifestyle? What’s a balanced lifestyle? Modern culture really hasn’t given me any clues on that one. I mean, I’ve had comments as to how happy/ content/ “sorted” a person I seem to be, on the same day as comments on my apparently appalling lack of a life. So evidently most people don’t have any kind of absolute to measure by. Maybe there’s some golden goal that people try to approximate to, of having a balanced, social, mental, spiritual, physical and financial dynamic; of being far enough away from every extreme as to not be diagnosable with anything (bar mediocrity).

…But people don’t want to be mediocre. We want to be happy.

So maybe that’s it. We want happiness for ourselves, and for our friends and family. As a culture on the whole we’re not entirely sure how to achieve this, but that’s what we’re getting at when we say “get a life”.


Something cool just happened, or rather, I just realised that something cool happened a while back. Somewhere mid-January I kind of drifted out of spending time hanging out with God. …which wasn’t so cool, ’cause even if I chatted to him every once in a while during the day, I’d traded in a good hangout over a hot chocolate for bumping into each other in the corridor. Not the best trade-off ever made.

But the cool thing in all this is that when I realised about the muck up, it wasn’t ’cause I felt I’d failed in some strange sense of obligation, or that I’d skipped something on my to do list…. I realised because I started missing God. I started missing Jesus, and practically jumping any time I saw a bible!

Cool,ね? It’s a bit of a silly example, but it’s an example of how God uses even our silliness, even our ridiculous humanity (and by that I mean mistake proneness) to work good in our lives. Maybe I would have started appreciating His word like that sometime anyway. Probably. But if He used my own negligence to make me value just a little more how much l need His input in my life…cool!

That is all.

The lie of “dispensability”

Early last year, on a grey evening(2013), I walked down a short, but steep street, and came to a place where it was crossed by a busy thoroughfare. I looked one way, and the way was clear. Looking the other was a bit trickier, because there was a corner whence cars would zoom unexpectedly. So I paid special attention, and finally that way too, was clear. I stepped out, and lo! I met a car coming from the right! I knocked their wing mirror off. Thankfully, they were so happy about me not being dead, that they didn’t blame me for the damage to their car. I seemed fine, so l walked home.

And sat on my bed shaking, with spectacular bruises blossoming on my ribs and leading knee. And as l shook, l considered again and again, how one step further…

Needless to say, my friends were not amused. Most especially not amused were my boyfriend-to-be and my friend Zac, who kept bringing up the story: “Say, has Teresa told you about the time she walked into a car?”.

I may be a little dense, but l picked up somewhat of a dismay at the thought of losing me. 

Now in good old Teresa-fashion, that should have had me thinking “This is curious. Needs looking into”…but in this case, it struck a bit closer to home than intellectual curiousity. 

Because I’d been struggling for a couple of years with the idea that, when all’s said and done, everything I do, and every role I have, even every relationship is easily replaceable…extrapolated out into the idea that people wouldn’t really miss me if I died. So this incident made me realise that to these close friends of mine, it didn’t matter that they could get another close friend, because they’d lose me. So regardless of how replaceable my role is, I myself am irreplaceable. Because l am “me”-a unique bundle of abilities and aspirations, weaknesses and absurdities, attitudes and experiences…

This is good news.

This means that if l lose my job, or a relationship ends, l won’t lose any reason for living-because l am more than what l do.

This means that l can answer those annoying questions like “what do you have to offer our company”…by considering what would be missed about me if I left.

This means that l myself have some intrinsic valuable. l’m not a waste of anyone’s time, attention, or resources.

It means that l can say with full confidence the same of you. You are valuable. You aren’t a waste of my time. You have something to offer that noone else has.