Saturday, 28 February 2009

Responsible receiving

Give out a thought:
The dynamics of how God gives to us were outlined at the announcement to Abraham that from him a distinct people would be created. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing." (Genesis 12:2). This interplay between the benevolent giver and the responsible receiver is at the centre of our faith.

'Inscribed on the very heart of God's grace is the rule that we can be its recipients only if we do not resist being made into its agents; what happens to us must be done by us.'

Give out an image:

Give out an action:
This week I was sent a link to the video above. In all corners of the internet there seems to be pictures, videos, stories and thoughts that are encouraging us that generosity, compassion and hope are not dead. Spend 15 minutes hunting them out, and then encourage others by forwarding them onwards. If you find things that you think we should post then please send them to us ( Alternatively you could create your own today. Go take some photos and videos and we'll upload them for you.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Generous Giver

Give out a thought: Over the last couple of days we've looked at two images that Miroslav Volf uses to illustrate how we often misunderstand how God provides. Drawing this together he writes:
'God generously gives, so God is not a negotiator of absolute dimensions. God demands, so God is an not an infinite Santa Claus. So what is the relationship between God's giving and God's demanding? In other words, what is the difference between a Santa Claus God and a gift-giving God? The bare-bones answer is this: a Santa Claus God gives simply so we can have and enjoy things; the true God gives so we can become joyful givers and not just self-absorbed receivers. God the giver has made us to be givers and obliges us therefore to give.' 

Give out an image:

Give out an action: Get a bag of treats together - maybe chocolates, sweets or little novelty items. Then when an unwelcome distraction comes along, it may be you have to help someone when you are really busy, not only help them but give them a treat out of your bag as well.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

God as santa claus

Give out a picture:

Give out a thought: The second image that Volf uses to describes that inaccurately depicts how we view God as giver is that of Santa Claus. He writes:
And indeed, many people think of God in this way, as a Santa Claus conveniently enlarged to divine proportions. God is an infinitely rich, always available, and unfailingly generous giver - or at least, that's what we feel a god worthy of divinity ought to be. God gives without conditions or demands... A Santa Claus God demands nothing from us. A divine Santa is indiscriminately giving and inexhaustibly fertile source of everything that is, and everything that is to come our way... But is it true that God demands nothing? If it were true, how could Jesus urge us, as he does in the Sermon on the Mount, to be perfect as God is?

Give out an action: Make a list of things that you feel God has given you. It could be an ability or gift, something physical, an opportunity, a relationship, literally everything God has given you. Think through how you have used these gifts responsibly in the last 24 hours. Create opportunities to use as many of these gifts as possible in the next day.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

God the negotiator

Give out an image:

Give out a thought: In his book 'Free of Charge' Miroslav Volf outlines two images for how we view God as provider. He suggests that both of these distort not only the way we understand how God gives to us, but also how we approach him as giver. The first image is that of God as a negotiator in that we ask God to give us things based upon what we have brought or done for him. So, we say 'if I do this for you God, then will you give me that?' Volf explains, 'We don't think very far ahead when we embrace the image of God as negotiator... For one thing, God doesn't need anything we have to offer. God can walk away from any proposition. And as any negotiator knows, it is impossible to strike a good deal under these conditions... God's goods are not for sale: you can't buy them with money or good deeds. God doesn't make deals. God gives.'

Give out an action: words or item
Give a word - write, call, text, e-mail or speak to someone today who doesn't regularly hear from you - be generous in your comments.
Give an item - something which "costs" (i.e. causes a small intake of breath!). Donate it/ freecycle it/ ebay it and give the money away.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Welcome to give up, give out

Throughout lent we are going to be posting a thought, an action and a picture each day. The idea is that we re-imagine the world by capturing something of God's dream for his creation and get involved in making it happen. We want your help as well by sending through snapshots of where you've seen people engaged in extraordinary acts of giving. It could be as simple as giving flowers to a stranger, a random act of kindness for a friend or a symbolic moment where you pass on God's love. Think deep, think hope and think love and then give it out to the world. Send your snaps to