God sees diamonds

Gerard and Chrissie Kelly are co-founders of the Bless Network, a movement of young leaders committed to God's mission on mainland Europe. They live in Normandy, France, where Bless has a missional community and prayer base.
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It is fear
That dies today

Our maker goes before us
To become that which has terrorised us
Death’s rabbit hole
Swallows the shadows
That have stalked us
Spits shame
Chews on condemnation
Positions himself
In the place of poison
Surrenders flesh
To its festering presence
He becomes us
Admits to the worst in us
He helps us
Embraces us
Lost to us
He finds us
God sings in his silence
In his absence enfolds us
Assures us:
It is fear
That dies today

GK 18.04.14

WALK DONT RUN - do you suffer from Marathon Envy?

Like Mothers Day for those without children, London Marathon Weekend can be a difficult time for non-runners. All our friends are doing it; everyone we know on facebook is doing it; the world is doing it. The training, the challenge, the pain, the achievement. Even without the whole endorphin-release thing,it’s like some new kind of drug.

And it’s brilliant. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant - for those who run; for those who try; for all the great causes that are blessed by their efforts. Even for those who stay at home and sponsor, there is joy in the achievement.

Remember Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit? Well running is not the only sport! I don’t run, it’s a bug I’ve never caught, but I do walk, and have been seen from time to time on a bike. Walking, it seems to me, is for many a forgotten joy. Everything is just too fast to fit it in. It takes longer than running, but adds some amazing advantages. One is you get to talk to your fellow practitioners. I know runners do talk, especially on training runs, but the Marathon itself does seem a little quiet. A second advantage is you get to notice stuff. You see things that when you’re in your car or on your bike are just a blur. And you can still raise money for great causes!

So if you’re a walker, not a runner and you want to share just a little of the sense of achievement those  Marathon marvels enjoy, join us on the Pegasus to Paris adventure. A life-changing six-day walk to raise funds for the Bless Network. To be a Pilgrim, you maybe just need to slow down…

Details here, more here.


So, a bunch of us are walking from Pegasus Bridge to Paris between June 6th and 12th this year - 70 years on from the liberation landings. Right now we’re signing up walkers for this life-changing event: part-pilgrimage, part-fund-raising for the ministry of Bless across Europe… Let me know if you’d like to join!


My six months being an intern and resident artist in France with Bless has come to an end! 

Some of the rad things I’ve done while I’ve been with Bless include doing a new ‘b’, drawing bless talks 3.0, starting a new side project, helping design some promo stuff, curating the LFO gallery and potato printing an entire wall (fun).

To find out more about Bless visit liveforothers.eu or email info@blessnet.eu!

To find out more about the next thing I do just keep following this blog!

(via liveforothers)


We thank you God, for oceans
For wild sea and salt-air
For sandy shore
For cliffs and coves
And clapboard harbours
Carved out by history.

We thank you God, for paint
For craft and colour
And the wonders
Light can weave
For representation
And revelation
And the revolution
Sparked by the act
Of taking up a brush.

We thank you God, for thin places
Where Heaven touches Earth
As surely as the sky
Rains down on soil
Where the line on the horizon
Is a song of hope
Where your presence presses in
On every side.

While we’re at it God, we thank you
For Whiskey
And pipe tobacco
And deep, acoustic folk music.

We thank you God, for Jon
Who loves all these things
And with us
Loves the life you’ve given
And the world you’ve made
We join with him in saying yes
To the beauty of your world
Without end

Wrote this yesterday.. our community meal doubled-up as a celebration of John White’s Birthday - this was our grace in his honour…

Prodigal - great short film by the team at Bath Youth for Christ… where our leadership journey began all of 30 years ago!


Matter Matters

Ruth Valerio this week posted this intriguing quote from Richard Rohr:

‘The incarnation of God did not happen in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. That is just when some of us started taking it seriously. The incarnation actually happened approximately 14.5 billion years ago with a moment we now call “The Big Bang”. That is when God actually decided to materialize and to expose who God is. This alone provides any basis for reverence, universal sacrality, and our attempts to form a spiritual ecology that transcends groups and religions. Two thousand years ago marked the human incarnation of God in Jesus but before that there was the first and original incarnation through light, water, land, sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, fruit, birds, serpents, cattle, fish, and “every kind of wild beast”, according to our Judeo-Christian creation story’.

This led to a fascinating conversation on Ruth’s blog and on facebook, essentially about whether it was accurate to describe the creation as an ‘incarnation’ of God.

My hesitation about the Rohr quote was that incarnation implies becoming - the suggestion could therefore be that God ‘became’ the universe at its moment of creation. I don’t think this is what Rohr is saying, though. I think he is saying two things, that the creation of matter is an act of God’s self-expression, and that the universe is filled with the presence of God. I think he is absolutely write on both counts - our problem being that we don’t have a vernacular word for this. How can we fully appreciate God’s indwelling of the created world without saying that the world itself is God? 

The traditional theological term for God’s presence in matter is immanence: God present within the universe as its ‘sustaining cause’. The problem is that immanence has no place in our everyday conversation, and Christians for the most part treat the creation as objectively separate from the being of God. We are to all intents and purposes functional Deists, even though we claim otherwise.

The metaphor of a song or a dance is useful, I think. Creation / matter is a work of art, but a work of art in which the artist is intimately involved. Matter is the performance of God. Paul says in Acts 17 that it is in him we live and move and have our being… There is no particle in which God is not present, and yet the particles are not God. The understanding that the trinity of God is itself a dance, or perichoresis, helps here. If God is by nature relationship and movement, a perpetual dance, then why would the universe not also be?

The crucial battle here is to realise that matter matters. God’s primal act of moving from the immaterial to the material; from uncreated to created as an act of love and as an act of self-improvement, tells us that to treat ‘matter’ as inferior to ‘spirit’ is a category error in our understanding of God. There can hardly be an error that has historically done more damage to the church than this. Matter matters, and a faith the worships a maker; a creator, the ultimate artist should surely acknowledge it. 

If you take Rohr as a corrective to the implicit Deism of the dominant view (God made matter but is not present in it) then the headline-grabbing use of the term incarnation is probably forgivable! 

(via gerardjkelly)


Youth subcultures: what are they now?

Mods, punks, soulboys, metallers, goths, hippies: there was a time when young people made it clear what tribe and music they were into by the way they dressed. Not any more, writes Alexis Petridis. Read more

Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex Features

Fascinating insight into current youth culture. Haul Girls? Who knew?


My latest painting, “The Depths,” oil on paper.

Please email jon@blessnet.eu if interested in buying.


The great city of Amsterdam. With a richness of history in every brick, Amsterdam has been witness many times to great faith and to the absence of faith.

What does the city mean to you today?

Do you sense the heart of God for this place?

What kind of party does God have planned for Europe’s party city?

Join us at 7:30 this evening at The Tabernacle of the Nations to pray for amsterdam, for the Netherlands and for Europe.

The Very Thought

I love the very thought of Heaven:
Where angels sing
In perfect, perpetual choir practice.
Where Father, Son and Spirit rule
And are honoured in full measure.
I love the very thought of Heaven:
But I was not made
To live there.

I was not made
To walk on clouds,
And bask eternally
In immaterial splendour.
I was made for this green planet:
This tight ball
Of infinite beauty,
Alive with the unending possibilities
Of his creative power.
I was made for the sunshine
That blazes through the veins of a leaf
And glints on the tiny, perfect back
Of a ladybird crossing my arm.
I was made to be human
In this most human of places.
I was made for earth:
The earth is my home.

That’s why I’m glad that God,
More than anyone,
Is a friend of the earth:
Prepared as he was to die
For its full restoration.
And that’s why I’m glad
That the magnificent, jewelled foundations
Of the mighty pearly gates
Will be anchored
Deeply and forever
In the soil of earth.

Just given permission for my poem ‘The Very Thought’ to be used at Kings College Chapel in Cambridge in one of their Easter services. It will be read alongside music from Buxtehude’s ‘Membra Jesu Nostri’ (The Limbs of Jesus). I’d love to be there to hear it, but won’t be in the UK - anyone available to go in my place? Thursday 17th April, 9:30pm

Part 12 of my series ‘A Bigger God’, now moved from Medium to Wordpress…


The Bible Reduced To Minimalist Posters

The Bible is often referred to as the word of God. In reality, it’s significantly longer: around 775,000 words spread across 66 different books, when all is said and done. How do you distill the word of God down into a single cover, then? If you’re Joseph Novak, you don’t: you create a minimalist cover interpreting each and every one of the Bible’s many books.

More> Co.Design 

(via fastcompany)


Generation Y takeover: the issues that matter to us and why

From Monday the Guardian is handing over control of its features content to 10 young trainee journalists.

The features section of the UK Guardian is being taken over next week by 10 ‘Gen Y’ journalists. Here’s how the sum up their world:

We are all members of Generation Y – those born between the early 80s and early 00s. Like every generation, we think we see things differently from the ones that came before us. Also like every generation, we face rapid change that we don’t fully understand – for instance, are we really digital natives, or just magpies collecting shiny things?

• We live our lives online, yet worry that we aren’t really living.

• Our leaders fail us, yet we’re told there are no alternatives.

• Our world is connected, yet we fail to communicate (emojis don’t count).

• Our gratification is instant, yet we are not satisfied.

Ring any bells?

How has your church changed its ethos in recent years to embrace this generation?

My new book is released worldwide on amazon today… More details here. Find it on amazon.co.uk here.