Our Response to the Story (2)
Path 1. Personal Reflection
Response to the Story:
What is your immediate reaction to this story?
How did it make you feel?
What appealed to you?
Was there anything that did not appeal, or that you did not agree with?
Note down the positives and the negatives.
Both are important. We will return to them.
There is a well of creativity in each of us. All we need are the tools to help us gain access to the ideas and insights we already possess.
1. How do you picture abundance?
How would you describe it?
Where have you known it?
Where do you find it now?
You might find examples in:
- the natural world
- the arts and sciences
- the Bible
Jot down words, phrases, quotations and associations.
Collect “images of abundance”
Do you notice any patterns in your preferences, or experience?
If you had to pick one thing that sums up “What abundance means to me” what would it be?
2. SOURCES OF ABUNDANCE
Human beings are made in the image of God, and reflect the abundance of God. We are wonderfully varied and complex. We can multiply ourselves. We can be fruitful and creative in many different ways.
How is the abundance of creation, and creativity, reflected in your personality?
- your body
- your emotions
- your mind: reason, memory and imagination
- your will, intention, purpose and direction
- your spirit?
Do you think of yourself as an “image of abundance?“ What aspects of yourself do you find it hard to see as reflecting God’s abundance?
- responsibilities, obligations and loyalties?
Do you see them as sources of abundance for you? Are you a “source of abundance” for others through them?
Note down anything that occurs to you, and how you feel about it. Your insights are important, but do not dwell on the negatives. This material is raw, unprocessed data, not any form of judgement on who you are or what you are like as a person.
Box of books. Lived in my own head. Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. Teachers, parents and critics sniffy about Blyton, J K Rowling. For all their faults, grasp essential point that style less important than vision.
grasp the essential fact that children’s books are not written to teach children how to write. Children’s stories are told (or written) to teach children what life is all about. how to find the source of life and make it their own. How to find treasure. Not just any old treasure, but their treasure, the wonder which will give them life, light, food, strength, inspiration, power. Power they must learn to use, not just for their own purposes, but to benefit others, too. Wealth which they must learn to share and invest in
Children’s stories are about discovering who you are, who you might become, what you can achieve. Fantastic but in one sense they are utterly realistic. They understand that the process of discovering this treasure is fraught with difficulty. There are obstacles, dangers, enemies and monsters to evade, outwit, defeat or overcome. There are puzzles to solve, distances to cover, battles to fight. The search for our treasure is both a journey and an adventure.
Along the way, the adventurer learns many things: how to sift the past, shedding the baggage while claiming and honouring the inheritance that is concealed within it. Identify their personal skills and value those of others. That there are older, wiser people who can provide wisdom, guidance and mentoring as we are starting out (or indeed starting any fresh course), but that ultimately, we have to find our own way. Who their true friends are; they are the ones who are true, who endure, who stay the course, who are there for us when it counts. self-reliance and teamwork.
Adventurer thrown out on the road by a catastrophic event, land sick, people frail, life failing, rulers faltering or unjust. but they stay on the road because they are searching for “treasure”. This “treasure” can take almost any form. It can be a person or an object. In “Five on a Treasure Island” it is the island itself, the money being the means to buy it. It can be as insubstantial as a dream. The form does not matter. What matters is that it symbolises or represents something that gives life to the one doing the searching.
The significance of this “treasure” is that it is life-giving; it is the source of life in the form that matters most to the adventurer, whether it be survival, security, hope, love, a purpose, wealth, status, freedom, a specific attainment, wisdom, glory or God. a treasure which is uniquely ours, and it is more than a dream. But to be more than a dream it must be given a specific form: personal, practical, material, real. This is how we can find it, possess it and enjoy it. But that as we find it, we become acutely aware that we have only done so because so many have helped us along the way. We can only make it ours because so many others have made our quest their own, if only for a time. And because of this, though the treasure is indeed ours, it also belongs to a wider community.
It is more than we imagined; its potential is far more than we can use; there is more than enough for us. It wells up, spills over, overflows. We have more than enough for our own needs. We have enough to share and we want to share it. Indeed, we see (or remember) that this is why we were sent on the quest in the first place, why we set out, what we may have always wanted: to claim our treasure so that we can deploy it and distribute it and invest it in the greater dream of creating abundant life for all. This is vital because In finding our treasure, we also take our place in the larger story of our times, because in using our power to help others, we save our people and heal the land.
Possible to argue that every story told, in any medium, follows all or part of this basic plot (or argues with it). Certainly, Blyton pares down this outline and reproduces it again and again and again. All the FF books follow the same pattern.
What kind of person - or group - do we need to be if we want to see our dreams become reality? What kind of vision will inspire others as well as ourselves? How can we work in a manner that encourages others to support us - indeed, encourages them to “dream dreams” of their own and pursue them? How does “imagining abundance” nourish our confidence, help us step out in faith, and enable us to keep with ourselves, with others and with God?
This is a book about the nature and purpose of vision and the way in which developing a dream of abundant life for all strengthens us and gives a positive shape to our lives - as individuals, families, fellowships, congregations, communities and networks. Our ability to form, nurture and sustain a vision of who we are and where we are going and what we want to achieve is an essential element of what some have defined as our “spiritual intelligence”.
Specifically, our willingness to “imagine abundance” for ourselves, for others and for everyone determines our ability to handle challenges and change with creativity, courage, fairness, generosity and compassion. It allows us to develop and pursue new ways of seeing, thinking, believing, relating and working. It enables us to invest our limited resources so that they can be magnified to meet the need. It encourages us to address our problems, overcome adversity and convert resistance into energy that serves the goal of making the dream come true. And it can do all this with faith, hope and love, in an inclusive Spirit, establishing a greater degree of justice.
What is this book about?
Who am I, and how am I qualified to write it?
Methodist Minister living the Ministry of Word and Sacrament as a life of prayer.
writing, art, leading worship.
What does this book contain?
Meditations, searching questions, Bible reflections, prayers, stories, examples of the process.
How will its resources help you?
See yourself afresh as the beloved of God, trusted and resourced by God, the Companion of Jesus, a member of the Body of Christ, imagining abundance for the world and teaching people to follow the vision and strategy of Jesus (disciples).
Encourage you to train yourself in the disciplines of grace, so that as a child of God, you can draw upon God’s Spirit for creativity, endurance, renewal and hope, and live in the Way of Jesus. Encourage, equip and enable people to enlarge/deepen their experience of faith and prayer through a better understanding of how God works with us and how we can allow God to change us.
Help you to imagine abundance for yourself and others. See how this was the foundation of Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God. Encourage you to start/continue a process of review, reflection and renewal/ A journey of faith. Equip you by outlining some of the main principles of the process/ Mapping the journey.
Help you to recognise fear and identify some of the things which prevent you being able to trust yourself, others and God, prevent you making the vision real. Show you how Jesus helps us to address these points of fear. And helps us through.
Help you identify and take the first step, next step, or just a few small steps towards turning your vision into reality. Starting here and now. Any situation. So that you can be blessed by the benefits of this way of seeing, thinking, believing, acting, living.
What does this Way make possible?
Increased energy, confidence, creative thinking.
Positive, generous decision-making.
A greater ability to handle change and manage it better.
A more profound impact in what you say and do.
A greater sense of being resourced by God.
A deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in what you do.
The awareness that you have something creative to share with others.
An understanding as to how you can go about sharing it so that they will be able to receive it.
What will it not do?
Read your minds. Take responsibility for your relationships as a group, church, community. Make decisions for you. Travel your road. Make your journey.
Have to understand how Jesus gave life through his ministry in order to understand how he gave life through his death.