day 119…

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So…we’re in the new place…everything is moved in and we’re getting a feel for it all.

Loving it so far…although not so much the aches and pains!!

This is our lovely light filled landing with our very own stained glass window. Pretty…unique, eh?! Actually, it’s grown a lot on me.

On another note entirely…don’t you just love parents. That’s all I’m saying.

Thanks Denise, Brenda and Ed. You’re incredible.

day 113…

So, finally, about 6 weeks after we initially thought we might move…it’s all on! This Friday. As in – at the end of this week, we will be in our new home.

This time next week, I’ll be typing up my 365 in our new home.

Wow! I’m still not quite sure I believe it!

We’ve got a lot of things we’re very excited about with this move…this feels like the beginning of something, well, special. Keep posted.

In the meantime, we haven’t really started packing – although we did start de-cluttering a few weeks back. But yesterday, my Mum took home our curtains from our living room to wash and re-dye, just as a help us out kind of thing (Mum, you’re a star. Seriously.). So, this is our rather bare looking wall. I think we might miss our urban/road view a little…always made us think of London for some reason!

Exciting week ahead…but I hope I won’t explode before Friday!

big community…

A while back the Conservative Party in the UK made a big play on the importance of society once again beginning to take responsibility for itself.  The basic idea was that after a decade and more of ‘big government’ and the ‘nanny state’ which had turned many into government dependants, it was time for ‘us’ to begin to look after each other again:

[this] is about helping people to come together to improve their own lives. It’s about putting more power in people’s hands – a massive transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities. 

Community groups are encouraged to step up to the plate, social entrepreneurs encouraged to cough up the money…and before we know it, we’ll have a society where we all looked after each other in some kind of throwback to 1950.  Or something like that.  The soundbite for this? ‘The Big Society‘…

Now, those of you who have followed my blog will know that I’m not a fan of the Conservative Party.  And to be honest, the Big Society is a not very clever way of hiding the fact that funding for community based work has been massively cut from the centre which is deeply hurting many important services that support the most vulnerable in our society..

But, loathe as I am to admit it, the core of this idea is fundamentally right.  We all have a duty to do something.

It can’t be right that people in our community are lacking some of the basic things that we could be part of providing.  It can’t be right that I don’t really have a clue who most of my neighbours are and what’s going on in their lives.  It can’t be right that I expect someone else to tackle the big issues in my city if I’m not willing to do something about it myself.

I was reading a list of 50 people deemed to be the ‘new radicals’ by the Observer earlier today, and was hugely impressed by the array of people who have got off their backsides to do something about their communities…both in the big and small context, local, national and global.  Truly inspiring stuff here…go and take a read…it’s worth a coffee and half an hour of your time, trust me.

We have probably become far too accustomed to pointing at anyone but ourselves, saying ‘they should do something about this’. What if the ‘they’ should be ‘we’?  What if the creativity, the potential, the investment is all lying in our own heart, our own communities just waiting for someone like you or me to do something about it.

I can’t help but link this to my theology around what being involved in the coming of the ‘kingdom of God’ looks like.  We have a deep inbuilt responsibility for each other that cannot be shirked, much as we may find it incredibly challenging to do so.  We see problems, we do something about them.  That’s our God DNA at work.  If the people of God are not at the centre of our communities, then what on earth are we doing?

I want to confess here that I’m as guilty as anyone in being apathetic about this stuff, so please hear me having a go at myself as well as anyone else!

In the next few weeks we’re going to be moving into another part of Exeter where a group of friends are taking this challenge on board and seeking to transform their community.  It’s a really exciting time as this all takes shape, and we hope to be able to be part of helping some of it come to fruition.  I guess the challenge for us when we do land in Heavitree is how serious we are about all we’ve talked about community, and being willing to move beyond where we’ve been comfortable in giving up much of our tendency towards individualism.

So as much as I dislike the ‘Big Society’, I believe in big community.  This is where the adventure moves forward. It gets scary, it gets real.  But isn’t that often the place we need to be to be truly living at the centre of God’s will for us?

moving…

Those of you who know us well will remember that we’ve been trying to sell our lovely little flat for the past 4/5 months.  In fact we first tried to sell last year, but didn’t get anywhere with it.  As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, the good news is that we received an offer on 23rd December that we’ve accepted, so now just need to find somewhere to live!

We’re aiming to move further into Exeter from where we are now, in particular a lovely part of the city called Heavitree, where a good number of our friends live and are part of a great project called Parklife.  We really feel drawn to this – and feel it might be where our desire to ‘do’ community might be fulfilled.

The thing is, we’ve got two properties that we’re really interested in.  We’ve seen both of them, and both of them are really great, for different reasons.  I don’t want to talk too much about them, but would ask you if you pray to spend a little time listening to what God might be saying to us.  I know that might sound weird, but I believe that this kind of thing is best done in community – and, well, you’re my community…

Obviously, we’re not taking anything for granted as any offer on either might not be accepted – we’ve got limited resources as we’ve suffered from some of the well publicised issues with the housing market (trying to sell a flat that would be ideal for first time buyers or buy-to-let market is hard work at the moment!).

Let me know either by comment below, or via message on Facebook.  Let’s see where God might be on this.