I can do everything through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

 This time last year I was excitedly planning a trip to South Africa. The trip was  sponsored  by about 15 amazing friends and blessed by God from the outset. On Jan 9th 2010 I landed in Cape Town. I left freezing ice and jammed up transport systems in the UK and landed in the blistering heat of Cape Town in the midst of  summer. I stayed with Mama Zulu and her family in Kayamandi township and worked with women and children for a month. It’s impossible to describe the paradoxes of SA. Stunning beauty and magnificent landscapes. A country of obscene wealth, literally over the wall from people living in abject poverty. The month I was there opened my eyes like nothing ever had before. I can honestly say I’ve not been the same since.

In March, I went back on the payroll again after time off licking my wounds (God and burn out). I began working with disadvantaged teens.

Later in March, a few of us headed up to the challenging and creative Rob Bell’s “Drops Like stars” tour in London.

Delighted to get the chance to hear activist Shane Claiborne speak in London in May. Now there’s someone who walks the walk.

July included The Hop farm festival in Kent with the unbelievable Mumford and Sons, Foy Vance, Ray Davies and Bob Dylan on the bill. It was so hot we had to wear head coverings.

I lost my Greenbelt virginity in August. Highlight was Fr Richard Rohr‘s teaching on dualistic thinking. He also said he believes the future of Christianity is ecumenical , ‘how healthy’ I thought. Waking up with ice on the outside of the tent in August was weird.

As I look back over my calendar from this year, I’ve had more NHS dental appointments than one person should be entitled to, and a lot of accompanying dental anxiety. I’ve also been prescribed reading glasses and developed a hiatus hernia. I’m meant to watch my diet but I don’t. All of a sudden it seems age is upon me.

I lost the 2 stone I had gained when stopping smoking by starting again (Don’t try this at home children).

I’ve (wrongly) kept Amazon in business with my one – click Christian book ordering. I’ve questioned things deeply and through slowly deconstructing ‘Religion’ and observing culture wars, I’m truly starting to love Jesus. I would be considered a Liberal by many folks standards and that’s cool with me. I think Jesus was pretty Liberal.

In October, Sarah and I flew off for an exciting weekend in New York city. Another place that must be experienced to be believed. We visited Revolution NYC in Brooklyn and heard from Jay Bakker and Rev Vince Anderson about the wonderful work they are doing spreading the pure message of Grace. We then sailed back for 7 days across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 and got off that ship heavier than when we got on.  

God has a sense of humour in my dating life, I’ve come across everything from bigoted and weird fundie Christians to a non-Christian guy I went out with out of a mix of curiosity and rebellion who got completely drunk very quickly and said  ‘Christ’ as a swear word every five minutes.

In November I turned 3 years sober. I am no longer a regular attendee of AA meetings although I do pop in occasionally. I am honoured to co-facilitate a Recovery course through the church and its a joy to see people getting some hope back in their lives. I’ve also known a few less fortunate who have died this year.

This may not sound like much of a year to many reading this but for someone who needed some kind of chemical enhancement to do life and spent a lot of time navel gazing, 2010 has been a big, amazing year of Faith and growth.

Thank you Lord and Happy Christmas all.