Monday, February 27, 2006

Keeping Track.

I led staff devotions at my school today. Usually I try to do something different than the break into groups and pray, or just the pray outloud thing. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but my experience with the Monastic tradition gives me a chance to share some of that spirituality – often with those who have no experience of it.

Last time I did a simple Lauds. Today I used the Sacred Space website to stimulate some pre-lent reflection. It was a good experience. I am always amazed at how the people you think are not going to get it do –and then tell you about it!

It got me thinking about what I am going to do for Lent. This year it seems more vital than ever. I am worn. There is sin to deal with (I don’t say that lightly or over –zealously. It is a mere fact.) I need to move forward. Now.

Instead of a whole lot of rules my plan is to make Lent – Be good to your self Lent.
Before you self-disciplined young people take me up on lent being a period of self denial, and self discipline, let me explain.

For me to be good to myself, I need to be disciplined and practice denial. The way it playing out in my mind at the moment I can see some of these things taking place:

Get enough sleep. Go to bed at a reasonable hour.
Exercise daily. Forget about weight loss and concentrate on getting my physical self healthy.
Eat Better. I like to eat so be healthy. Less meat. More organic food.
Take reflection time. Daily.Pray. Think. Confess. Reflect.
Stop doing things that take me away from myself, my family and God. Like too much internet. Like being grumpy. Like being restless. Like Sin. Deal with these things.

I figure if I have a shot, I may well get somewhere.
I am not going to beat myself up over this.
Lent is a time to get things right. It will take time.
I trust. I pray.
I have a community to support me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


My bro sent me the challenge: Answer the 7’s!

The Sevens

Seven things to do before I die
Live in Italy
Change Jobs
Release a solo album – its time!
Own a Peugeot
Live in residential community
See my children happy and fulfilled as adults

Seven things I cannot do
Be tough.
Be kind to myself.
Not pray.
Find the perfect faith community for me.
Play violin.
Swim well.

Seven things that attract me to my wife
Her voice.
Her music.
Her compassion.
Her kindness.
Her love.
Giving life to our children.

Seven things I most often say
How ya doin'?
Stop that…
Would you like a drink…?
Staying for dinner?
Can I ask you something?

Seven books I love
The Earthsea Trilogy
Genesee Diary
Mystic Heart
The Rule of St Benedict
The top 1000 Albums
The Elenium Series
The Dark is Rising sequence

Seven Albums I couldn't do without:
Revolver - The Beatles
Style Council Box Set
The Jam Box set

Little Feat - Sailing shoes
The Royal Scam - Steely Dan
Live Wood - Paul Weller

Whos Next - The Who

Seven People I want to join in too...

Michelle's Sevens:
Seven things to do before I die
Get Married
Have children
Learn to play guitar
Learn to drive a bus
Change schools
Go to Tasmania
Own a pet

Seven things I cannot do
Draw.- I with you on this one Chris
Sit still
Stay off the computer
Be satisfied with my prayer life
Be totally organised
Say NO when I should
Stop gossiping

Seven things I most often say
Are you sure that's ok?
I'd love to stay for dinner.
You have a choice...
I'm going on camp...
You're an angel

Seven books I love
The Narnia Chronicles
When the war began series
The notebook
A walk to remember
Possum magic
The horse whisperer
Commotion in the Ocean

Seven Albums I couldn't do without:
Looking for Coco-Coralie Kan
All right here- Sara Groves
Woman's worship CD
The Sound of White- Missy Higgins
Looking for Coco- the car copy!!
ABC dance hits
Omba baroomba

Seven People I want to join in too...

Sunday, February 19, 2006


To be blunt, I think sharing a meal is the mainstay of community life.

For years, we met after dinner for coffee, cake, and prayer (sounds very Anglican now!) But since all our kids have arrived, dinner and wine are the order of the day.
And what a difference it has made. We eat, do the dishes together, learn each others tastes and favourites.

And of course, meals lend themselves to other things. Like talk. And laughter. Serious discussion. And more laughter. Theological reflection. And laughter. And wine. And Laughter. And sometimes even good advice…!

So share a meal with those people you love. And do it regularly.

The results can be truly astounding!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Last night we met and discussed what we as a community would like to be intentional about.
We read this great blog entry at ThPM community, and applied its wisdom, and similarities, to our little family. As I recall, we thought it would be good if we were intentional about:

  • Wine
  • Being relaxed
  • Being honest, and being a safe place for honesty
  • Sharing meals
  • Caring for each other
  • Our weird liturgical calander: Lenten Study, Passover, Easter in New Norcia, Christmas Dinner

Sound good to me. Feels good too as I write it. We are good for one another. We also discussed being better listeners, and why we come here anyway. This type of talking is gppd for us early in the year as we begin to meet more frequently again. It reminds us of many things, and of our shared history, and just how far we have come...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Gathered for the Wedding

The community gathered for Matt and Linda's Wedding.

Friday, February 10, 2006

St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict

Feb 10 is her Feast Day.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Interview 1

I'll be interviewing some of the community over of the next few weeks.
Here's the first one!

CK (Chris Kan asking questions)
ck (Chris Kan giving answers)

How long have you been in the community?
About 8 years, from when we started meeting as the dreaded bible study home group.

Is there a high point of community life?
I think sharing life very closely is a gift. It is also hard work. Getting to know people at a truly deep level, almost beyond the like/dislike idea, to really love and be loved for who we are.

Any peak experiences?
I think the retreat in New Norcia is 2004 was peak. It was when we decided to be a community and extend our lives a bit. Also, every Easter spent together is like, wow, we DO get on?

A low point?
Umm 1998 and the moment all the community remember VERY clearly.....

Challenges for the future?
Being open to new people without "comprimising" our history, whilst at the same time allowing the spirit to move us forward.

Favourite music?
Steely Dan, Paul Weller, and at the moment I am into Little Feat.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

From Monkfish Abbey

This sort of sums us up too...

We are a group of friends and acquaintances. We are people who help each other move. We paint each other’s bathrooms. We make birthday cakes. We are people who want to recognize that time is not a renewable resource, it matters how you spend it We want to know the new lady with the little girl who moved in next door. The guy in the next cubical. The dreadlock barista at the coffee shop. The yoga teacher with the cool chimes. The plumber at our worksite. The outrageous waiter with the t-shirt that says, “I’m Gay.. Don’t Tell Anyone.” We are people who like life. We are artists. We are computer programmers. We are parents. We are beer lovers. We are people who fight, who laugh, get bored, get inspired. We make music; we make soup. We laze around in the sun; we play scrabble in the rain. We listen to loud music; we go with each other to get tattoos. We read good novels; we learn about wine and cheese. We are explorers. We are people who want to worship God, and talk to God, and listen to God. We are people who readily admit we are not entirely sure what that means. We are people who learn not from a leader, but from one another. We blow dust off of old books, we reform old beliefs. We uncover ancient practices and make them our own. We say, “I was wrong,” We look twice at something that catches our eye. We seek.