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[Guest Post] Imitate…


Hello! Hope you all had a great weekend. Here we go with part two (you can find part one here if you missed it)

At the end of the last post I asked you to think about who your role models are, and who you imitate. I wonder what sort of people you came up with? For me, there’s a definite distinction between “I wish I could look more like this person/have their house/earn as much money as them” and “I really admire what I see in this person, and would love to get better at doing it myself”.

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you might have picked up subtle hints about my love for Cherry Healey. She is a funny, intelligent, gorgeous, well-dressed, insightful TV presenter making fantastic documentaries for BBC3, as well as raising her little girl. Poor Blunders has had to listen to me whine on more than one occasion “But I want to beeee Cherry!” Now, honestly, this is not true. If I were Cherry, yes I’d have better clothes, a lovely spilt-level London apartment, and a successful TV career, but I wouldn’t have my husband, or my brilliant two boys, or my friends and family, or beautiful sea views from my windows. If being Cherry meant leaving behind everything about my current life, I wouldn’t do it. No siree. Nor (and goodness me, I can’t believe I’m saying this) do I actually want to be Mrs Robbie Williams (I know, I shock myself!).

Nonetheless, I can recognise people of influence in my life who have characteristics that I want to imitate…examples to come, in a few paragraphs or so.

So, who should we imitate, and how?

In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul was very clear about this;

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (New King James version)

As Christians we are called to imitate God…which is a pretty steep challenge! But there are definitely strategies that can help us as we strive towards this. I read a fantastic blog about imitating Jesus (http://bluepointchurch.org/?p=205) that pointed me to this verse in Philippians:

 “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”Philippians 3:17 (English Standard version)

The blog author goes on to say this;

 “Let me paraphrase what Paul is trying to say here: You’re going to copy. You’re going to mimic someone’s steps and mirror someone’s movements. That’s how we roll as human beings. So if you’re going to imitate somebody, go ahead and imitate me. Follow me as I follow Jesus.”

So, for me, the first strategy we can employ when attempting to imitate Jesus, is to find people who are already doing it. Mr Blunders has shedloads more grace, patience and understanding for people than me. Gran B is the ultimate prayer warrior – who brings people, situations and problems before God as an automatic response. My sister in law is desperately passionate about working with and in her local community. My best friend is desperately loyal to her friends even when they treat her badly. A couple we know extravagantly bless people when they see a need. These are the people who I want to be more like, these are the characteristics that I want to imitate.

Secondly, our very wise friend Caroline raised the excellent point that when you are in close relationship with someone, you often imitate their behaviour without being totally aware of it. Spouses mirror facial expressions, housemates adopt each other’s accents (in my student house we had a fantastic mix of Midlands, Newcastle/Sunderland, Wales and Somerset!), best friends order the same food in a restaurant. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we often become more like them.

The Ephesians verse mentioned earlier reads like this in The Message translation;

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.” Ephesians 5: 1-2 (MSG)

I love that – keep company with God and learn a life of love. Having a deep, intimate relationship with God is the best way to imitate His behaviour. It’s learning by osmosis (what a brilliant word!).

In conclusion, I’d encourage you to imitate others from time to time. Look at their best habits, characteristics and behaviour. But more, strive to imitate Jesus whenever you can. It’s a tough call, but spending time with God will make it much easier. I know it’s something I need to get MUCH better at!

And remember, for each of us, there will be people (not just children) watching us, and looking up to us, and imitating our behaviour too. Let’s try to set the best example possible eh?

Big love

Mrs B

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[Guest Post] Perspective…

Hello lovely people, and a big welcome to those of you who have visited blogblunders in the last few days – it’s great to have you here! If you are the person who came across my posts after googling ‘Cherry Healey nude’ (Read, Listen, Watch) then, my apologies, there are no naked pictures here! 😉

So…it’s taken a few posts, but finally I’m taking you back to the world of musical theatre today. Years ago I performed in the European Premiere of “The Will Rogers Follies”. At this stage I need to make it clear that the fact that it was the European Premiere is not actually that exciting. Fundamentally, the reasons the show had never been produced in Europe were a) the Broadway production had not long closed when we performed it and b) it is totally insane. It tells the life story of Will Rogers – “American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer, actor and one of the best known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s” (Wikipedia link) through big production numbers akin to those featured in the Ziegfeld Follies, a revue show which he often headlined.

One of Rogers’ famous quotes was “I never met a man I didn’t like”, which is the title of the theme song of the show (if you want to listen, there is a horrific version by Barry Manilow here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOqLuwoxfrU&feature=fvst I couldn’t find a way to link to the original cast recording!). By way of introducing himself, Will sings a version of this at the opening with the show, and interrupts his singing with this dialogue;

“Howdy. I guess I met a whole lot of people in my lifetime, and I always try to approach them the same way my Indian ancestors would. You see, an Indian always looks back after he passes something so he can get a view of it from both sides.

A white man don’t do that. He just figures all sides of a thing are automatically the same. That’s why you must never judge a man when you’re facing him. You got to go around behind him like an Indian and look at what he’s looking at. Then go back and face him and you’ll have a totally different idea of who he is.

You’d be surprised how much easier it is to get along with everybody.”

I’m really struck by these words, as I’m aware how easy it is to judge others according to our own values, beliefs and opinions, without due regard to the fact that they might think differently from us.

I wrote a few weeks ago about a girl called Zoe who told me that she was pregnant and  was planning  to have an abortion. She was 16, not in a long term relationship, and just about to start a course at college. At the time we spoke, I was heavily pregnant with my first son. As she told me about her plans, I felt him squirming and kicking inside me, and urgently felt that I needed to fight for the life of Zoe’s unborn baby. So I asked her to consider keeping the baby. I told her that even though it was scary, it would be OK. I told her that there would be lots of support available to her. I told her that even if her Dad was angry and disappointed to start with, he’d calm down eventually, because he loved her. It was very easy for me – a 24 year old, with a husband, job, mortgage, supportive family and crucially, a planned pregnancy – to say these things. And whilst they might have been true, on reflection I know that I was trying to assess Zoe’s situation according to my circumstances…not hers.

In this instance I know I should have been more aware of the need to look at things like Will Rogers did. I might then have had a better chance of helping and supporting Zoe in her decision.

On the other hand, this week I’ve been challenged by people who have opinions SO different from my own, that try as hard as I may, I can’t see things from their point of view.

On Wednesday morning I saw a facebook group, called sTopman started by Tender, an organisation my friend works for (www.tender.org.uk) who work with young people to stop domestic violence across the UK. sTopman was set up to protest the sale of this t-shirt (Guardian Article) – specifically the red one which lists commonly used excuses for domestic violence).

Within hours, Topman had removed the shirts from their website and stores and issued an apology, stating that they were “meant to be light hearted and carried no serious meaning”. What I can’t understand is, given how many people must have been involved in the process of getting this tshirt from design to store, why no one objected to it before it even had chance to hit the racks?

Do we really live in a society where some people still don’t take domestic violence seriously?! Well, according to the comments on the Topman facebook page after the statement was issued…yes, we do. Alongside those thanking Topman for recalling this item, there were over a hundred comments from people who genuinely thought there was nothing wrong with it. A ‘choice’ few (edited for language!)…

“Seriously? Some people can’t take a joke can they?”

“is idiotic. It’s a t-shirt…if you don’t like what it says then don’t buy it”

“Get a grip…end of the day its a T shirt! You don’t have to read it nor buy it so stop moaning.”

“Anyone who thinks that the red tshirt refers to domestic violence is an idiot.”

No matter what angle I came at it from, I couldn’t see how anyone could justify the sale of these t-shirts. Even if the domestic violence interpretation was not what Topman had intended, did no one consider how it might affect a victim of domestic abuse to encounter someone walking down the street with those phrases (“You provoked me…I was drunk…I didn’t mean it”) emblazened across their chest? I think that t-shirt was a bad choice by Topman. It’s not funny, and could do serious damage. In this instance, no matter how many different opinions I read, nothing was going to convince me to change my mind.

I think Mr Rogers might have been onto something though. Sometimes looking at things from another person’s perpective might help you to develop a more rounded and informed opinion. It might enable you to help or support someone, and will often improve your relationship with them. Conversely, sometimes you may come across opinions that are so opposed to yours, that considering them for a moment serves to confirm and strengthen your own beliefs. It’s win-win 😉

This week join me in taking time to think about things from another perspective. Let me know if you have any fresh revelations!

Love

Mrs B

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Jesus, Mission

 

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[Guest Post] Read, listen, watch…

Mrs B back with you and I thought I would do a little blog about things I’ve read, listened to and watched just recently, whilst I think of a topic for my next few posts.

READ…

I’ve just finished reading ‘Room’ by Emma Donaghue. I’d never heard of it, read reviews or had it recommended to me. I just picked it up in Waterstones, read the back cover and liked the sound of it:

“Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there’s a world outside . . .”

Told in Jack’s voice, Room is the story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible. Unsentimental and sometimes funny, devastating yet uplifting, Room is a novel like no other.”

I can’t tell you anything about it – because I’m rubbish at keeping secrets and don’t want to give anything away – but it was defintely one of those books that had me hooked from beginning to end. At one point I let out a huge sigh of relief – not realising until that point that I’d been holding me breath for about 3 pages!

It’s sad, and funny, and thought provoking and brilliant.

LISTEN…

Our favourite ‘car CD’ at the moment is 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I say ‘our’ because both the boys have their own favourite tracks, and as soon I tell HJ (16 months) that we’re getting in the car he starts singing his! Now, I must confess that in general, I’m not a big fan of Christian music. I think there’s lots of rather average stuff around that gets sales, attention and great reviews just because of the ‘big name’ who has released it. So I didn’t expect to be so impressed by this album, which is packed with brilliant tracks and some really outstanding lyrics. EJ (3 and a half) loves ‘number 8’ which is actually called We Could Change the World .

I love the lyrics of the chorus:

“Yes, our God is all He says, all He says He is
Jesus, in Your name we could change the world
We stand in Your love, in Your power
And all You say we are
Jesus, in Your name we could change the world”

And I love listening to EJ belt it out – I’m praying that he’ll always have a relationship with Jesus that means he can make these declarations, and I look forward to seeing how he changes the world in Jesus’ name!

I’ve also become reacquainted with the soundtrack from the musical We Will Rock You. I know that opinion is a bit divided on this musical – Queen fans don’t like the fact that the music’s been messed around a bit and musical theatre fans don’t like the fact it’s just a bunch of Queen songs held together with a rather tenous storyline. It was the first musical I managed to drag Steve to see in the West End, and the live cast recording is exceptional. Lovin’ it.

WATCH…

My best girl crush, Cherry Healey has been back on BBC3 with a short run of documentaries. The most recent was called ‘Cherry’s Body Dilemmas’ and you can still watch it here – BBCiplayer (as an aside, I love iplayer. We don’t have Sky, so can’t Sky+ things and I find myself watching a lot of stuff on my trusty laptop!).

I’m a bit in love with Cherry.

Mr B will confirm that I’ve said that I want to be her. It’s true. She’s fab and she makes funny, interesting, balanced documentaries. As someone who has worked with teenage girls around topics of body image and self esteem, and battled my own body image demons (I’m finally resignd to the fact that my flat stomach is long gone, thanks to the two beautiful mini-men in my life) I was really interested to watch as she interviewed a range of women with very different views. Word of warning; she make a visit to a naturist camp – full frontal nudity – try not to laugh too much!

Last night me and Blunders watched “Never Let Me Go”. Those of you who know me well will know that I am not a film buff. There’s loads of classics that I’ve never seen, and loads of current stuff that I haven’t heard of. Which means that sending me to Blockbuster to choose the DVD is always a bit of a risk. This one sounded OK from the blurb on the box;

“Kathy, Ruth and Tommy are best friends who grow up together at an English boarding school with a chilling secret. When they learn the shocking truth – that they are genetically engineered clones raised to be organ donors – they embrace their fleeting chance to live and love. Based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go is an intriguing exploration of hope and humanity”

It is a fascinating movie.

After watching it I read some of the reviews online and it seems that reactions are really mixed – a bit of a marmite movie. I have to say I neither loved it nor hated it. It was beautifully shot and there were some fantastic performances (Keira Knightley is annoying though. She always is). There were some bits that didn’t make sense, and some questions that were unanswered, but if you can put those things aside it’s well worth a watch. As always, reviewers commented that the book is much better than the film, so excuse me now as I head over to the Kindle store to download it…

Let me know your read, listen, watch recommendations in the comment box!

Love
Mrs B x

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Book Reviews, Eastbourne, Jesus

 

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