As I gather my thoughts for this edition of Revive, on Intentional Living, I am reminded of a DVD based course Viv and I bought some time ago. The course was entitled Practicing Mindfulness. The lecturer, Professor Mark Muesse, asserts that most of us live in a state of mindlessness most of the time. Mindlessness being “A mental state in which the mind generates a constant swirl of remarks and judgements that create a barrier or words and images that separate people from their lives.”
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To love your neighbour, you must know your neighbour
This is a progressive look at restoring a sense of community and getting to know our neighbours as a deliberate exercise. It is a shocking revelation that once engaged, most are quite amenable to getting to know the people around them.
Abundant life … is it possible in 21st century Australia? Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Is this all there is to living? Could we get more out of life?’ These questions form the basis for this little book that has grown out of 60 second radio spots originally broadcast live on 96.5FM, a Christian radio station in Queensland.
The book retains the 60 second script format so each page contains a different topic. On first glance this is frustrating because you want to go deeper to find what the author thinks of the topics included; topics such as pain, anger, science and religion, self-esteem, family life, criticism, parents and love but none of the topics is unpacked for us. It is designed for deeper unpacking elsewhere, either alone or with a friend, or in a group over a coffee. It is designed for us to reflect on our own context through personal reflection or conversation with others. As such, this little book may seem light-on but the short messages stick with you so that you reflect on them through each day.
The potential for small groups to facilitate spiritual growth has long been recognised. We find references to the early church meeting in the homes of believers and small groups known as ‘class meetings’ were a key in the Methodist movement promoted by John Wesley. In many congregations small groups supplement the work and witness of the gathered church.
For Heather Zempel, small groups are essential for promoting Christian community. Readers should not expect, however, to find guidance in this book on how to do it. Rather, the writer uses her experience to draw attention to the challenges and problems of small groups.
In researching for this edition’s feature article, I recently took a quiz to find out my ecological footprint (find out more at www.wwf.org.au). It turns out that if everyone on earth consumed as much as I do, we would need three planet Earths to sustain us. THREE! That must be about the average, because the same is said for Australia as a whole.
Interestingly though, I took the test for a second time, this time ticking all the right boxes while still living in Australia. I pretended I was a vegan, didn’t drive, lived in a ‘green’ house and hardly ever bought new gadgets or fashion. With all this, it would still take 1.5 planets to sustain that lifestyle if everyone on the planet lived in the same way. We would still kill the planet.
Whilst living in the Middle East in 1980 I mail-ordered my first personal computer. That is, I ordered a kit to build a Sinclair ZX80 personal computer, along with a correspondence course on BASIC programing (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). With my trusty soldering iron in hand I swiftly – and to my surprise successfully – assembled the computer, plugged it into the TV aerial socket, powered it up and, armed with my correspondence course, entered the brave new world of personal computing.