Last night I had the chance to go back to my old church and speak about a charity which I’m involved with. Aside from the slightly surreal nature of feeling like I was going back in time it was a good opportunity to talk about something that, if you press the right buttons in me, I’m really passionate about.
The charity is Festive and I chair it’s Vision and Strategy group. It’s a charity which is set up to help Christian students and staff in the world of FE and 6th form colleges display the wonders of Jesus to the world around them. It isn’t a glamorous charity, we’re small and look pretty feeble sometimes for a nation wide movement. We long to help and equip local churches and youth workers to care about the FE colleges in their towns. To see the vast mission field and to share resources to help do something about it. We love praying for the many students we have contact with all over the country who might be the only one or two Christian students in their college. We love this small and often overlooked work, and we love that our God loves it too, Him being particularly all about the weak and the foolish.
It occurs to me that not many people know I’m involved with this charity and I’ve not even really told my own church about it. You might think that’s weird but I think it’s pretty common with me. I’ve got lots of things I love and care about in this life but I find it hard to tell anyone about them unless asked or given permission to stand on my soap box and rant.
I blame Star Trek.
Bet you didn’t see that coming…
I blame Star Trek, and Bruce Springsteen, and Queen, and U2 and Science Fiction in general, and any other thing I’ve liked that is really really really not cool. I learnt from an early age to hide some of the stuff I really liked. When you are being picked on for your other differences you kind of play down anything that makes you stand out.
I’d like to play down the Trek thing right now even, but I loved The Next Generation (it’s all about the revelations tonight people) I’d love to blame that on some primeval desire to connect with my Dad and Brother every Wednesday night as we sat down to watch it, but who am I kidding, I read the books, I watched the films, I verged on the edge of being a Trekkie. (interestingly when I moved into community with some people I barely knew a few years ago this was one of the first things that slipped out about me. That’s what living in community does to you… it should come with a health warning. ).
But back to my point, banging on about the stuff you love isn’t always the best way to make friends, and as that’s pretty much my functional idol I kept quiet about some stuff and I still do. With no-one to share my love of the Boss or of Science Fiction I kept these things secret.
I don’t think it’s that I’m different with different people, I’ll freely admit my uncool loves and passions to anyone who wants to know, but that’s it, they’ve got to want to know. I’m just not the sort of person that goes around thrusting them in other peoples faces, I’m cautious, wary of ridicule and not someone who easily shares information about my life. This used to do my head in completely when it came to the dreaded E word: evangelism. People giving talks on this tried to persuade me that it was natural to do it by saying things like- you naturally want to share something that’s really good in your life. I would think, well maybe, but I don’t normally do that. It’s never normal for me to be overflowing in effusion about something with people I don’t know very well.
If you get to know me I’ll not shut up about the grace of our God, his love of the weak, the brilliance of being his loved daughter, I’ll bang on about music all day long, I’ll insist you take my car to Durham and the Lakes, I’ll talk about how much I love lazy Saturday mornings and hitting drums loudly, I’ll even talk of my love of some Sci Fi stuff, Battlestar Galactica and The Big Bang Theory (which I’m secretly ashamed I get far too many of the jokes in), if pressed I’ll even spout off some well thought out theories about Star Trek and the strange phenomena of every film with an even number being good and the odd numbered ones being terrible (with the exception of The Search for Spock). But only if you ask, or are my friend, or have proved you won’t run away screaming from me if I tell you these things.
So why am I saying all this? My conclusion, that I’ve come to in a very roundabout way, is this: I’m not sure I’m a very ‘banging the drum’ type person. Some people are, some people will urge you to love whatever they love, I’ve just never been that good at it.
Now, if I was, I’d say, check out the Festive Website, if you pray I’d urge you to pray for Christians in the FE world, I’d say love your FE college, I’d say give some money and support the Festive workers and I’d say that lots over and over again. But I’m not and that’s why I blog- I can’t see your reaction as you read this, I can’t look at your face and see your lack of interest in something I care deeply about. Yes I know, I should get over myself and rest secure in who God has made me to be, what can I say, I’m a work in progress.
It’s definitely time to stop now. I’m sure this blog post reveals way too much about my idols and neuroses, but, it also kind of told you about Festive and for that I am glad. Check them out.