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[RENT] One Song Glory…

 

Greetings from Blogblundersland,

Hope you are enjoying this advent season. The build up is in full swing and Christmas 2011 is well and truly upon us.

We are continuing our RENT series with the song, One Song Glory. You can have a listen here.

The song is sung by Roger and the themes and melodies from the song make their way into many of his other parts throughout the musical.

Roger has HIV/AIDS and seems throughout the musical to be doing well under treatment, but he knows he will soon die. He is searching for a way to live on beyond his choices – the one song to leave behind.

The verse I want to zoom in on is this one;

Find ,The One Song
Before The Virus Takes Hold
Glory, Like A Sunset
One Song, To Redeem This Empty Life

Roger is a man who thinks he has wasted opportunities, wasted the gift and therefore created an, ‘empty life’. Do you ever think like that? We can often think that we’ve missed that ‘one’ opportunity and now our life is forever on a different track and that is it – stuck on an empty track waiting for the end.

What if things were different?

What if life was a rich tapestry of opportunities and risks?

We have had many conversations over the last few months with our friends about God and our view of Him. If we have a view that is basically a god who sits upon high and dictates the future of our lives based on whether or not you take this one opportunity right now – then life is always going to be hard. But, if we take our picture of God from the revelation of Jesus, we get something very different. We start to see a God who is willing to get dirty, to dwell amongst his people, to move into their neighbourhoods – to eat, drink, laugh and cry with them. We also see a God who will go out of his way to offer us as many opportunities as possible to choose Him.

Over the past year, we have started to grow in our understanding that this moment is the only moment we have. It is how we choose to live this moment that it is important. The one opportunity to respond to God (or make a one off prayer) is replaced with myriad opportunities, with each second being as valuable as the previous.

Following Jesus therefore, moves from being a once in a life decision to a repeated decision made moment by moment. Do I choose to follow Jesus right now?

By its very nature, this thinking will mean that we will miss opportunities – we will be human and choose our own way. But, it will also free us to know that each day is filled with risk and adventure. Each day has choice. Each day, moment by moment is an opportunity for redemption.

Roger is searching for his redemption through the writing of one song that would live on beyond him. What he seeks is eternal.

What if we searched for redemption in Jesus, the eternal one? By this thinking, eternal life is no longer an added extra to following Jesus. No, we follow the one who is eternal and therefore our life is found in Jesus and him alone, that life is then eternal.

From this point of view there can never be such a thing as an empty life. Every life (no matter what has gone before) has the opportunity to respond to Jesus, every day is a new day for choosing Him and living with eternity in view. Every life has the choice for redemption. Even right now as you read this…no matter what has gone before.

As always let us know what you think and may we take this opportunity to bless you and hope that you have a great Christmas.

May you find Jesus.

Grace and Peace,

Mr and Mrs B

xxx

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in God, Jesus, Myths about God, RENT

 

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[RENT] Life Support…

Standing on the edge

Hello lovely friends.

Thank you for checking back in – we really hope you’re enjoying our mini-series on RENT!

This week has been frantic, with Christmas parties (life group, toddler groups and nursery!), a nativity (we were the very proud parents of a rather splendid king), general Christmas prep, busyness at work PLUS redecorating our dining room in 2 days! Consequently I’m rather hurriedly writing this in time to post for #theatresthursday – which means it won’t be too long! So don’t worry, you can get back to all your jobs in just a minute or two…

Originally, the next song on the list was One Song Glory. But we’ve mixed it up a bit (and Mr Blunders will be returning to that one next week) – so here we go with Life Support…

 

‘Life support’ is a group for people with HIV/AIDS, although Angel describes it beautifully – “life support is a group for people coping with life”. This song is sung by the members of this group, and is another example of a group of people in community with each other, being honest, vulnerable and supportive. Last week Blunders wrote about the value of true friendship and deep connection with others…life support is a glimpse of this.

The focus of the song is the group’s ‘credo’;

“There’s only us, there’s only this Forget regret, or life is yours to miss

No other road, no other way

No day but today”

And whilst these words are powerful (and we’ll definitely write about them another time!) the lyric that really strikes me is this;

“Look, I find some of what you teach suspect

Because I’m used to relying on intellect

But I try to open up to what I don’t know

Because reason says I should have died three years ago”

This bit makes me think of our good friend who suffered a serious brain haemorrhage a couple of years ago. Doctors did not expect her to survive and have since described her as a miracle! Medical reason said she should have died, but thanks to a LOT of prayer she’s still with us today 🙂

In a former life (before babies turned my brains to mush!) I was a bit of an intellectual. I loved reading, writing, study. I have a law degree, and in the course of getting it, I devoured books. I loved analysing an argument and exploring different views. I like things to be accurate, reasoned and explicable. I’m not good with mystery or the unknown.

But sometimes I think it can be too easy to rely on intellect. Too safe to rely on science, facts and figures and detailed study. Sometimes, a leap of faith, although scary, can be liberating.

Is there anything you’re not doing, because reason says it won’t work?

When we moved to Eastbourne, we tripled our rent, halved our income, and invited a friend to live with us who initially was unable to make much financial contribution. Reason said that we shouldn’t be able to make ends meet. But we trusted God and He over-supplied all our needs.

My Dad got a job some years ago as deputy editor of a Christian trade magazine. His previous job had been in human resources for a multi-national rail company. On paper, he might not have looked like the most obvious candidate. But he got the job, and was soon promoted to editor (and is a very, very good one!).

Many of the young people I work with won’t attempt something because they’re scared of failing. It’s a natural instinct, but something that can really hold us back.

It also needs mentioning that it is not the recklessness of just doing things, but stepping out of comfort zone now and again.

Following Jesus is like that.

We can have all the answers, all the facts presented to us, but at some point it takes an act of faith based on what you know.

CS Lewis captured it amazingly in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when the children are first learning about Aslan. Lucy asks Mr. Beaver, “Is he safe?” to which Mr.Beaver answers. “No, of course he’s not safe, but he is good!”.

Following Jesus isn’t safe, taking a step of faith isn’t safe, going to a new group to share about life isn’t safe. There will always be reasons why we shouldn’t do something – but what if we put some of the reasons aside and grasp faith and, leap.

Be blessed in your adventures.

May you find people who will encourage you as you step out in faith, may you find true friends who will be your life support.

Big Love,

Mrs Blunders

xxx

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Community Living, Jesus, RENT

 

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[RENT] Rent…

Hello again,

Thank you for stopping by, hope you are having a great day.

We return today to our mini series on RENT the musical and today’s number is the title track.

Have a listen here:

The song kick starts the musical with a bang – introducing us to a few of the characters and giving a glimpse of their part in the story. You’ll probably agree that this is pretty much standard for the opening number of a musical.

But, where I think RENT differs is that you get an insight into the songwritters questions. Obviously they tie in with what the character thinks but just recently I’ve been struck by these words towards the end of the song:

How Can You Connect In An Age,
Where Strangers, Landlords, Lovers,
Your Own Blood Cells Betray

What Binds The Fabric Together
When The Raging, Shifting Winds Of Change
Keep Ripping Away

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/r/rent/#share

The series of questions come rapidly and can almost be missed. They are very real questions that still need an answer today.

How do we connect with each other and what holds it all together?

Betrayed?

This stanza sums up a great deal about today’s world. How do we find community, friendship, acceptance, love and support in age where we are constantly let down? You could replace any of the betrayers with any number of people – politicians, friends, neighbours, spouses or even God.

The search for real community is what the character Mark is really looking for. But, he hides behind his camera to avoid it – to keep from getting hurt he removes himself from the one thing he actually wants. I am not advocating that we share absolutely everything with absolutely everyone. But, we do need people who we can be real with. Otherwise how do we really connect if the world is full of people who will betray us? Yes, our friends and family might let us down at times – but true friends will never betray us.

The book of Proverbs along with RENT gives us some great advice on choosing friends;

Consistent

We need friends who are consistent. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”. Some friends don’t love at all times – their love is based on what they can get from us. It is often the small number of close friends who stick by us that matter, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Honest

Our friends will be open, honest, and sincere. Solomon said, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). Sometimes we need the correcting word, sometimes we need friends who will bring correction because they love us. We need friends who check up on the state of our marriages, the way we parent, our finances and our private lives.

Wise Counsel 

Wisdom is so important in all areas of life, especially with friendships. Proverbs 27:9 says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” We need close friends who will be our wise council, perhaps older friends with a different view point, a reassuring conversation that they days do get easier or an encouraging positive conversation about life.

Mrs B and I have many friends who are much older than us who have been invaluable to our marriage, our parenting and our learning to follow Jesus.

Considerate

Our close friends will also be considerate, they will empathise with our situation and live out Proverbs 25:20, “Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda”. They will know how we are feeling and act accordingly. They know when to make us laugh, they know when to hold us, they know when to cry with us and they know when to just have a cup of tea with us.

Our best friends will be those who are nearby — constant, honest, counseling, and considerate. Mark and Roger show this level of friendship throughout the entire musical. They are consistently honest with each other, at times brutal – but their friendship lasts beyond their disagreements, beyond their differences and beyond their frailties. They both demonstrate these four points of true friendship.

So, as we run the slide rule over our friendships we also need to run it over ourselves.

Are we constant in our friendships? Are we honest? Do we give wise counsel? Are we considerate, do we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice?

Fabric Conditioner

The fabric that the characters are searching for in RENT is that of true friendship. True friendship binds the fabric together when the raging, shifting winds of change keep ripping away. Ultimately they find it by the end of the musical (but more on that as we progress through the posts)

Our prayer is that we learn to be true friends to those around us, it is a learning process and we will make mistakes along the way. But, we want to get better and that is the start!

Be blessed in your journeys in finding true friendship and may we learn to be great friends,

Grace and Peace,

Steve & Susie

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Community Living, Jesus, RENT

 

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[RENT] Seasons of Love…

RENT MUSICAL

12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours.

Or 525,600 minutes.

Seasons of Love isn’t the opening song in the stage show of Rent, but it is in the film. And it’s probably the best known song – so it’s a good place to start in our mini series of blogs about Rent.

Have a listen/watch here

I (MrsBlunders) absolutely love this song. If you happen to pull up next to me at set of traffic lights whilst it was on in my car, you might think I’m a bit crazy. I will be singing, I’ll probably be clapping and on occasion, I might be crying.

It’s a great song to provoke reflection. December 31st is often when people think about the year that’s passed and look forward to the next. But I don’t think it’s the only time during the year that we stop and look at our lives. Birthdays and anniversaries both mark a ‘new year’. Mr Blunders and I try to make a point of celebrating our wedding anniversary every year. Often we hear people say “but it’s just another day” and in some respects, they’re absolutely right. However, in a world where relationships are tough and divorce rates are high, we really encourage couples to celebrate! And to thank each other, for continuing to work at their relationship. And to think about how we have moved on together since the same time last year.

Perhaps we could ask the same question of our relationship with God? Has it moved on in the year? If you’re not a Christian…has anything of your attitude or opinion of God/Jesus/Christianity changed? Has anyone or anything challenged you to think more about faith and spirituality?

How do you measure a year?

In the money you brought home, nappies you changed, promotion you gained, things you bought, school runs you did, holidays you enjoyed, meals you cooked?

If, at the end of the year, you stop and look back – how do you measure your success? How do you know whether it’s been a good year?

Last night at work I was talking with a group of young people who live in one of the YMCA residential centres. I asked them, as the end of the year approaches, whether they can think of any really positive things that have happened to them this year. Initially the resounding response was ‘”no”. A lot of them described this year as the worst ever. And for some of them, I can well believe that. However, as we sat and chatted they began to think of positives that they could hold on to;

“My niece was born…I was really supported by my friends when my Mum kicked me out…I met my girlfriend…I had some good times with my mates…”

Turns out, that despite the bad year they might have had, the positives they could think of were all to do with people and relationships.

Measure your life in love.

The song itself hinges on this simple phrase – measure your life in love. What if you measured how good your year had been through the lens of love?

How have you loved? Who have you loved and did they know it?

Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV

Jesus willingly laid down his life for the whole world, it was never dependant on us doing anything. God could have made robots that automatically said “I love you God”, when ever he wanted us too, but that would never have been true love.

Love must be tested.

Love must be risked.

Love must be chosen.

As the musical enfolds we get glipses of each character risking their love and being loved in return (especially Roger & Mimi in their song; I should tell you). God opened himself up to the possibilty of people not choosing Him, in order that people could really choose to love Him.

Our prayer is that you have an opportunity in the coming weeks to reflect on your year, to look at your measure of “sucess” and to think about a God who truly loves you.

What if we measured our years by the knowledge that we are loved by our heavenly Father (John 3:16)? What if really knew that nothing we do can ever earn His love and that we are free to choose or reject Him?

Whatever you use to measure your year – we hope you find time to sing out and celebrate your year with friends and family!

Grace and peace,

Mr and Mrs Blunders

x x x

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Gospel of John, Jesus, Myths about God, RENT

 

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RENT…

RENT

Hey y’all,

Welcome to the intro post to a new series on the musical RENT. You may well be thinking what on earth can be learnt from a musical? What would the musical RENT have to do with Jesus? Well this series is for you…

The three R’s

You have to be careful when you mention names in public, a wrong name here can lead to people switching off before you’ve begun.

The name Mark Driscoll can do just that.

While I would not agree with everything he’d say, I do think that Pastor Mark has added great value to the conversation about mission, biblical manhood, fatherhood, discipleship and leadership. Some of his hyperbolic statements have caused more than a little stir, but at heart I believe he is a man of great vision and has a great deal to say on mission and culture.

One of his returning teachings is that on current culture and how we process it as those who are learning to follow Jesus. His slide rule of Reject, Receive and Redeem is great when dealing with any part of culture and RENT seems like a great piece of art to see if he’s right…

What are the things that we as followers of Jesus need to reject? Not as many as you might think…but more on that in later posts.

What are the things that we as followers of Jesus need to receive and what do we learn from? A great deal…but more on that in a later post.

Finally, what are the themes that we look to redeem, what has kingdom value but needs a little theological tweaking?  You’ll have to wait and see on that one….but more on that…well you get the point… 😉

Future Posts & Guest Blogger

We will be looking at the musical and it’s themes through the lens of ten key songs (we could have done one for every song – but had to narrow it down!). We will be writing about the characters themselves, the themes the songs bring out and what we can learn from them.

You may have noticed that I have switched to using we, that’s because @MrsBlunders and I will be writing this new series together!

So, the ten songs;

1)      Seasons of Love

2)      Rent

3)      One Song Glory

4)      Life Support

5)      Out Tonight

6)      Santa Fe

7)      I’ll cover you

8)      La Vie Boheme A+B

9)      Without You

10)   Finale B

We will be posting every Thursday starting from next week (Thursday 24th November).

I (Steve) will also be returning to praying through the gospel of John each week, so look out for that one as well.

It is also worth noting that we will not be hijacking the musical and forcing biblical themes onto the songs. As we have listened, watched and sung these songs it is clear that they speak of real truth, real lives and real situations.

If (as we believe) God is real, than He must have something to say about these real themes and we believe He has done through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

We hope you join us on our journey through RENT, we hope that it helps you explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus and we hope that if anything in the past has put you off that this may be a restarting of your interest in Jesus.

So with that we’ll see you next Thursday as we delve into the musical RENT.

Grace and Peace,

Steve & Susie

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Community Living, God, Myths about God, RENT

 

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