Well life continues apace. I was writing to the Mama today, and wrote in such AGDO cryptic fashion that after I sent my message I was asked to send the decryption. Sometimes, you move so far away from others in your own thought life, that what seems perfectly obvious to you, is just a riddle for someone else. Or, mild autism.
Lots happened in the rest of 2015 – we had vacations and staycations, we started a home group at our fashionable fringey YeungLao, which was attended by equally fringy people, I organised a conference for 1000 people, our home cat population swelled by 50% for a few weeks, I started a small group in Canton, China, I took on leather craft and the trumpet as hobbies [which tells you quite a lot about the change in pace], we moved house again, and the BIG one – we got pregnant!
Actually, while the fact that K and I are about to be parents is probably the biggest change that is brewing and which will alter the rest of our lives, right this minute, the most dramatic revamp of our lives has to be that K has, in favour of getting some hands on training with residential rehabilitation Miniverse-Style, quit her job only 3 months ahead of activating some very comfy maternity leave and with it, of course, eschewed all other employment income. Sometimes I forget how big a deal that is. My wife is so brave. When I did it, I had savings, nobody else to support and was definitely not pregnant.
Tomorrow night, our home group meets at their new location in the not-so-fringey, and deceptively named Gold Coast, where we now live. The beach is entirely man made, and the there is nothing golden at all about the coastline here - it is crowded with expensive yachts at the jetty and further out, with commercial vessels that befoul the water just enough to straddle the line between slightly smelly and unswimmable. Nevertheless, the gold coast here is teeming with expat life, massive condos, and swanky high end shops. We live, however, on the villagey side of the road, in a village house, in an actual village. Our house number is 17 ½ M. So, not fashionable or fringey but definitely quirky. Our side of the road has a stinky canal and thick vegetation that breeds insect life, the condo side has bins for dog scat every 50 metres. There’s something different about living close to the edge of something, anything, I find. The upside of living here though, is just one block away, is access to a whole shelf of snobby beer.
In about August last year, Bec and Col casually asked if I would be Helpful, and organise a conference, so she wouldn’t need to think about who to do it anymore. It’s easy, there’s a reference manual from all the people who’ve done conferences with us before, she said. Well, who doesn’t want to be helpful right? Especially if it’s not that hard. It was just like when B&C asked if I would count beans for a while - “It’s not much, just a couple of hours here and there.”, which then blew out to a full time job, just about. I learnt all about graphic design, executive liaison, printing production, schedule management, and the very subtle skill of anticipating what else the Lady JP wanted with that. I’m sure glad to be on the front of that curve now. I think.
That conference was called Knowing the Father’s Love. In a way the title didn’t matter that much. The purpose behind it was to beat a way open, for the children of God to know him as Abba. So whether it was knowing his love, or his heart, or any of his myriad good qualities didn’t make much difference, it only mattered that there was a way to experience the Fatherhood of God. This may seem a self-evident concept, it being all over the New Testament, but what I have found in the months since is that I tend to read scripture about God as Father, then retro-fit my experience of my own father into it to interpret how it works, without questioning the validity of doing that. That is, is the way my dad was as a father anything like how my heavenly Father is to me? So of course intellectually I understand the premise that God adopts me as his son, but what does it feel like? Dunno, pretty much like being my dad’s son right? Well, as it turns out…
The prospect of being a father stirs up all sorts of instincts, the best one of all, is the instinct to seek out the truth of fatherhood, and its more primal flip side – sonship.