Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Eastern European Adventure...

I wasn't planning on any adventurous holidays this summer but the closer it got and as i heard the plans of others for the summer, the travel bug got the better of me!

As such, on 11th July i will be departing for 2 weeks of back-packing in Eastern Europe. Myself and my mate Niall will be starting in Helsinki (Finland) and then we will get a boat to Talinn (Estonia). From there we will travel by bus/train to Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Warsaw and Krakow (both in Poland) before finishing in Prague (Czech Republic). The plan is to spend a couple of days in each location to see the main sights and get a flavour of the culture.

I love travelling to new places, meeting people from other countries and eating different foods! I'm excited about journeying between places listening to the ipod and reading a good book or two (that's as much multi-tasking as i can manage!). I look forward to some good chats about life over the trip with my friend.

Anyways, this post is not intended to provoke jealousy within you! I'm thinking that many of you have probably already visited some of the places we will be going so can recommend either:
  • things to see/visit
  • places to stay (hostels)
  • good food to try!
I await your comments eagerly!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Holy Club...

I got an e-mail today from a friend inviting me into a 'Holy Club'! My only reference to such a term is usually a derogatory attack on the church or a group of Christians. This isn't far off the mark really as the Holy Club was the name given in mockery to a group started by John and Charles Wesley, which was the first sign of what later became Methodism. Begun by Charles and led by John after his return to Oxford University in 1729, the Holy Club members fasted until 3 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays, received Holy Communion once each week, studied and discussed the Greek New Testament and the Classics each evening in a member’s room, visited (after 1730) prisoners and the sick, and systematically brought all their lives under strict review. If you want to read more about the 'Holy Club' then click here.

Now i don't expect that the group i have been invited into would be able to engage in that degree of intensive community but the intention would be to create a medium sized group of 15-20 men to dialogue with each other and figure out how to keep our Christian identity alive in the context in which we are living.

Interestingly, here are 22 questions the members of John Wesley's Holy Club asked themselves every day in their private devotions over 200 years ago.

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

If you get through all of these in a morning devotion then you are doing well! If you get through all of these and haven't been challenged to change in any way then i think you need to refer back to question 1!