Tuesday, 14 August 2007


So, what to say about Orlando? We're in an amazing house - 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, huge TV with Premiership beamed in live, 165 TV channels, pool, jacuzzi, just like home! And all for free for the fortnight courtesy of my old boss at the Pru! Thanks Norman.
The prices of things here are DIRT cheap! We're eatiing out for about £23 for the SEVEN of us! That includes unlimited food and drink! Amazing.
We had Taco Bell tonight for supper - £12 for the 7 of us to eat our fill.
I bought Rob Bell's Nooma videos (17 CD's) - they are about £9 each at home - I bought the full set of 17 for £63!!! And it goes on and on. The weak dollar is making everything so affordable.
Laura collapsed with the heat yesterday - Linzi had to carry her down the slope of the mini-golf course she was on - the heat was just too intense. I had already retired after nine holes(three strokes in the lead at the time of course!). It's been between 36 and 39 every day - just like home. Laura was fine after an hour or two and a bottle of rum (water).
I miss the five Romanian girls who are living in my house in Ireland at the moment - and I think about my little circle of friends all the time too - when I get to a good ride in Universal or somewhere I'll think how much I wish McIntyre was here to see it - or I'll see a big pair of humorous boxers in a shop and they'll remind me of Pete!! And I think of all the times Elaine has been here with us.
But even here I can't get away from thoughts of the Third World. Florida is like the consumption capital of the US (at least it seems that way to me) - everyone here looking out for number one and doing their utmost to have a good time. More restaurants than in the whole of Northern Ireland are within five miles of me I bet, no wonder they have huge arses over here! And we're so close to Haiti and the Dominican Republic - two of the most needy countries on earth. Strange world indeed.
Anyway, tomorrow we will go to Typhoon Lagoon - Disney's best water park. Kids are very excited about it. I can never stabd the heat so I'll probably leave around lunch and go cruise the Christian bookshop - Boring old Dad!

Sunday, 12 August 2007


It's been a while......

A couple of days ago I managed to see Amazing Grace, the movie. And what a movie. Make sure you see it. Funny how names like William Wilberforce conjur up images in your mind of old people dressed in suits and speaking in olde English. At least it always did for me. The movie really blew away those preconceptions and showed how Wilberforce and the Prime Minister of his Day (Pitt I think) were young vibrant men with a mission from God. I've always been interested in slavery because of the modern problems with human slavery and found every minute of the film totally captivating.

One theme which resonated with me when an ill Wilberforce was being encouraged by those around him to slow down and get his health back, but he knew God had called him to a life of challenge and service. I still feel the same way about my own life in many ways but i tell you, I've never been so confused.....

One of the reasons I'm confused is this - I've no idea any more what being a Christian means. All my life (until about 5 years ago) I thought my Northern Ireland Presbyterian (with a little bit of Elim and a heavy dose of brethren mixed in, what a cocktail!!) upbringing was 100% right. Strict rules on do's and don'ts, such a strong bible emphasis, a real evangelical. At 18 I thought I had it sorted. I was as tight as the proverbial duck's arse. But life started to challenge those beliefs. Prayers weren't answered for good people around me. Good people died. The church's I had belonged to had ceased to be a real influence, if they ever had been. Then I read Tony Campolo's "Letters to a young evangelical". He could have written that book for me. It challenged everything i'd ever been taught. And it made perfect sense. It almost left me without a foundation.

Then recently I read Shane Claiborne's first and only book to date. What a challenge. To live literally as Jesus had talked about. To give away everything. To forsake most things that the world offers. (Now may be the right time to tell you that I watched Amazing Grace on the plane to Florida for a family holiday. The guilt that this laid on me I can't begin to tell you. Especially after Shane's book.) How the H£$L am I supposed to figure out what God wants from me? Should I sell my girls two ponies and give the money to Compassion to feed the poor? What if that leads my two precious girls into a life of hanging out with bad mates when they would otherwise have been safe and sound in a good environment and on and on..... Should I not be in Florida where I really get the chance to leave a hectic and stressful life behind? Was that a wrong use of money? I honestly don't know the answers....

Then think of this. I have spent a lot of time recently in Romania. About 25 visits probably in the last few years. And built some amazing friendships and mentored a lot of kids. But recently I've began asking myself just how to explain the gospel to them. What is the gospel? How should they react? Is it really a matter of just saying the sinners prayer and being sorry for what we've done? I'm sorry, but I can't buy that anymore. And I know that would devastate some of my Northern Ireland religious friends. They'd think I've gone all liberal. Which in some ways I have.

Then I start to read Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. What an amazing book. Read it all in the last two days . Totally broadened my horizons and my mind yet again. But in some ways it seems like yet another viewpoint. Another angle to consider which confuses the issue. But in still another way the whole point of the book is that we SHOULD be really struggling with our faith. We should be asking BIG questions. Because our faith's an alive and vibrant thing which moves and changes and flex's. Sacrilidge to all the Drewe's in Northern Ireland. But I believe true none the less.

So here's what I've decided. I'm in Florida now anyway. So best enjoy it. Best give my wonderful kids the time of their lives. Build memories that will last a lifetime. And read some more books as well. And maybe one day I'll understand. Maybe I'll come back to Florida, maybe I won't. But according to Rob Bell, that day may never come when I truly understand....

Get Rob's book and read it. Go to his Mars Hill church website and download some of his sermons. He has mind-blowing teaching in the book about Heaven. Again, teaching which totally challenges what I've always been taught. After I read it earlier tonight I found myself getting out of my bed, quietly walking to the room where my two boys were fast asleep, and sitting in the dark and smiling at them contentedly. Because I know that God is in control.

I hope this hasn't bored you - but I wanted to share my struggles and questions. How to best live as a Christian challenges me every day. I've learned so much recently about what it does and doesn't mean, yet it's still such a challenge to figure it all out. Sleep calls!

(I'll tell you a bit about Florida tomorrow).