Culture shock!


I’ve been home in Aussie for two nights. As I flew into Sydney (I live in Canberra) I felt like this really *is* home and that’s a lovely feeling. But I have SO many other feelings.

I can’t stand the commercialism. In the Sinai nothing is branded. Here every airport trolley was screaming at me to get a mobile phone from Vodaphone. I don’t like the more more more.

Am I a weird if I don’t want more? Maybe yes. So what? I’ll be happier if I admit to how I feel and live according to how I feel.

And don’t get me started on the rubbish movies, I went to watch You me and Dupree to get time-out from this culture-shock I am going through. I used to like movies like this one, but yesterday it just hurt my eyes. I couldn’t sit still. These aren’t real people. These are fake emotions. When they lamented that “maybe love isn’t enough” I simply walked out. I am sure I can find something better to do with my time.

And the news broadcasts… ugh… the empty news broadcasts that border on brainwashing.

What is this puerile culture I live in where all my food is so soft I don’t have to chew it to swallow, where my thinking is done for me, where my Christianity is not the hard hitting:

Silver and gold have I none said he, but such as I have, give I unto thee, in the Name of Jesus Christ… stand up and walk! blind eyes be opened! deaf ears hear!

Silver and gold we have lots of, but can we open blind eyes?

I still love rugby though. Phew, not everything has changed! hehehehe.

Family

I know that the few days I stayed with my family in London has had a profound effect on me. By standing up to the bullying, by seeing the hurt, by seeing my origins, by acknowledging that I am not them, by seeing that I care for them but my family doesn’t define me… in this way I have had a complete break from my past, while perhaps re-connecting to the past again.

How strange. Forgiving and accepting the past brought me closer again, but it freed me and released me. The logic goes like this… I am me. Who? Me. But I was me, wasn’t I? No. I was “not-them”. So if I’m not-not-them, then who am I? I’m me!

Tricksy! (Courtesy of Gollum/Smeagol, when he also was confused about himself)

Jesus!

On my travels I spoke to someone about Jesus every day. Every day I shared the good things He has done in my life with someone who could benefit from coming into a relationship with Him. Here there is no need, no questioning. No one thinks they need God, everyone simply has a job and they go to work and come home. What kind of an existence is this?

As I got home I knew I had to pray for the city and my house, so I did and later we had the first rains for a long time. God is good. He is powerful. He has all the authority.

Abiding wrote to me about me being a missionary. I’ve always had a heart to GO and I am really clear about the need and my passion. I have NO FEAR about poking a finger in a president’s chest and telling him/her that God abhors idolatry. I am serious, I wouldn’t blink an eyelid.

Is this me? Yes. Was this me before? Yes. Somehow I was stuck.

Trapped. Trapped by expectations that I should be like everyone else. I should want more stuff, I should have a routine like everyone else, I should think like other people. I’ve been trapped by a desire to fit in.

Believe me, I don’t fit in. I really want to, but I really don’t. heh. I’m me.

Friends

I have many wonderful and loyal and supportive friends. One of them is Rob.

Rob has been staying in my house looking after Wookie and Max (my two kitties). As I got back I saw that Rob has moved things. I began to put simple things back where they “should” be. Toothbrushes. Bread. Chinese wok. Back where they were. Then I felt this inner complaint…

No… I don’t want them how they were. No… don’t put it back. But then how DO I want them to be? I don’t know. Just not how they were.

What is this? What’s happening here?

If I am not who I was, then who am I?

Having thrown off the past, having seen the family I come from… now I seem to be finding my own identity and groove. And it feels great! 😀

Who am I – if I’m not someone who hides his spiritual gifts, hides his insight, hides his different character, hides his ability, hides his different way of thinking?

I remember the night when I first met Jesus face to face, about 3+ years ago. What an experience! We were in a house and He smiled at me and said that we were going outside the house. I said “but I thought we were hiding?” and He said, no, not any more. He used an analogy of a tv series, “hiding” was the previous series, now we’re doing a new series where we go outside. That was 3+ years ago.

Starting this blog several months ago was a HUGE step “out” for me. God pushed and pushed me (gently) to do it. I said “I don’t know what You want me to say” and He said “just say what you think“… so I do. He said I can and people seem to benefit from it, so I do.

Bit by bit I come out. It feels like I’m surfacing from having been under water for my whole life. Like a submarine surfaces, inch by inch. Slowly… slowly… coming up into the light of day. Showing who I am to people around me, seeing who I am for myself. Feeling myself.

And what is weird to me is that no one is surprised by “me”. No one rejects me. No one runs away screaming. Like they could always see me for me. As if I am only new to me, not to them.

A safe God?

Last night I watched Travelling the Road (for the first time) and the guys are in India. I have been to Nepal 3 times and India once. They travel and pray for people and preach. Inside me something jumped and urged me to go there. I could see the people who are seeking God but not knowing that Jesus is who they are looking for. I could see the Varanasi spiritualists that I can talk to, I can go and take the good news to them… show them truth in power, not just enticing words. That kind of thing comes so easy to me. I do this naturally. It’s second nature for me.

But in the western culture this ability to understand someone else’s experience of the supernatural, to be comfortable with discernment, to simply KNOW, to have an ability to pray for people to be blessed and then they actually ARE blessed… this is not respected or even desired. We say it is desired, but as someone with these gifts for real, I can tell you, it’s not desired, it’s shunned because “God is a God of order”.

I remember when a leader said that if God was going to do something, He would do it through His established leaders (and he motioned to the leaders up the front) and not through us (motioning to us in the seats), because we’re the young and unlearned. What a slap in the face. No wonder I stayed hidden for so long. Surely God wouldn’t use me… He’d use His leaders right? I had to learn to submit to authority.

Churches have conference after conference but nothing actually changes. We’re afraid of God’s power. We cage Him. “Stay up there Lord where we can worship You!”

It’s too easy… we just don’t need anything

Just today a friend asked me me to pray for him, to ask Jesus for help in his life. I have spoken to this friend for YEARS and shared my life as best I can. He asked me BECAUSE he has seen that God is good to me… and God can be good to him too. I said to him, how about HE (my friend) asks God for help, rather than me doing it for him. I don’t think he did it. We’re so settled. So complacent. So unreachable.

The hunger in the rest of the world, the passion, the kindness… there is passion and kindness here too, no doubt. But something in me cries out for the hurting and lost. Some people in the west may be lost, but where I live very few are in enough need to actually respond with passion to the offer of a God who can help them. Insurance will help them. Debit orders.

Nothing is difficult here. Fast food, cars, credit cards, movies, tv… it’s all so sedentiary, so remarkably easy. I don’t need to walk anywhere. There is nothing I can’t lay-by or pay off. Bigger car? No problem. More music… go buy it.

And yet I feel so good inside

Am I making sense? I don’t know.

I am discomforted by the world I live in. I am passionate about reaching Jesus and bringing Him to the lost. I want to pray for people. I want to see joy flood into people’s eyes. I want to find people who need peace and show them how to find peace… and then see that peace flood their lives.

christmas-present.gifSo that’s how far I have got in processing me, myself and I. But let me tell you something, it might be scary to not know who I am, but it feels so good. So scary but so good. It feels like Christmas every day. Gift giving. Joy. Fun.

I don’t know who I am, but I love being me! 😀

Missionary Mark?

Am I a missionary? Is that why I go so often and I want to go again? Every time I go on holiday I talk about Jesus to anyone who is seeking. I’m still busting to GO and reach out more. If that makes me a “missionary” then cool. If it means I like to have loooong holidays to cool places then I’m cool with that too!

Either way I feel good inside. I’m me… and I like me. Thank You Abba for healing me.

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6 responses to “Culture shock!

  1. Hi John

    Thanks for the support, it was a trying few days. Deep adjustments. You’re so right about everyone being a missionary in their own lives, right where they are. Every blog is a mini-church.

    Hi Gail

    Apparently it WAS warm… but it’s flipping freezing since I arrived. All my heaters are going full tilt. hehehe. But then, 1 week ago I was in the Sinai with 47 degree heat!!

    Hi Gadget!

    Mate, I liked your comment. A bit “millitant” for me, but hey, you’re your own man. I totally look forward to you taking action on your promise to treat the world as a church with no walls… awesome! How’s your blog doing?

    Bless you guys,
    Mark.

  2. The thing that struck me from this post was about the movie. I have that same exact feeling at the movies now. Those people (actors) aren’t real. In fact, they aren’t handsome and beautiful now. They look blemished and hard. Amazing how the Spirit works-right?
    Goo post!

  3. hey dude,
    your looking good, ploughed up soil, good to use for growing awesome crops in, glad your seeing the real world.
    ive got a bit to say. This passage:

    I remember when a leader said that if God was going to do something, He would do it through His established leaders (and he motioned to the leaders up the front) and not through us (motioning to us in the seats), because we’re the young and unlearned. What a slap in the face. No wonder I stayed hidden for so long. Surely God wouldn’t use me… He’d use His leaders right? I had to learn to submit to authority.

    This guy was used of the devil i believe – God is no respector of persons, he wants to use you. Yes the church body is a part of the picture, but you are in a picture of your own, you and God, and the world is your oyster and we will be accountable for OUR use of our God currency (u know-tallents). the good news is we dont have a small amount of venture capital, but as much as we DARE use-this is speaking to me here! our multiplication (disiples working) or addition using the volume of currency we are using really is determined by us (according to scripture) this man has NO place telling us how much fruit we can or cant produce!

    Churches have conference after conference but nothing actually changes. We’re afraid of God’s power. We cage Him

    maybe the conferences are not usially the spiritual content we need (fat sheep getting fatter?) By now we ought to be teachers-oooo im liking this-lets teach those who need it! there comes a time when you get sick of the driving instructor doing all the driving, and say (as nice as you could muster)” I’m driving now-youve driven me around long enougth!” Were not babies anymore, its time to leave the nest, it’s too dam comfortable (not to mension boring).

    go for it Mark wahooo praise God! lets give him the glory here! (and lets love the sinner but hate the sin)

    How to stop a God empowewed person, by hairylegs:

    Keep them in a comfortable church, yes keep them bussy there all their life-keep them away from the rest of the world-yes and dont let them lead and be empowered by God in being a spiritual leader- no keep them small, isolated, relying on the leader to give them fruit NOT God and so bearing fruit themselves. Don’t let them think they are the awesome Ministers of the truth of Jesus Christ, no, let them think their leader is the minister, and thats their lot in life. Let them see the church as the gathering on sunday- keep them from their real church, the world arround them in need of the savior If they arent a church leader, then they aren’t to lead.

    YUK. If church is our church weve missed it, we are the temple of Gods spirit. Yes its good to meet together, and God is there too. WE are the leaders & Kings of God, not a congregation of message hearers- we are to be the messengers!- if we don’t have a church to hear us Praise God! we don’t need one-we’re not that limited are we! Ive just realised what a blessing it is that ive not preached ot our church! Thank God, Gods got another church I’m to lead! and its not limited, it has No parameters!
    cya

  4. Welcome back to Godzone Mark!!! Is it back to work now??
    And what about this weather we have turned on. It was the warmest start to September ever in melbourne and now today we are freezing. At least it can only get better. Talk to you tomorrow.

  5. Mark,

    Thank you for sharing so honestly and openly about yourself. Your honesty and transparency is one of the things I get most out of your blog.

    I’m proud of you for the steps forward you’ve made in recent times within yourself and with your family. Awesome stuff.

    By the way, don’t forget you *are* a missionary wherever you are–including right now in Canberra. We’re all called to be missionaries wherever we are. But perhaps God has also called you to be a missionary overseas??

    God bless.

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