Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

What have genuine fake watches to do with the Apostle Paul?

That’s how I started my message this morning. Having just got back from Europe I’m focussing on three great cities that were visited by the Apostle Paul and which Robyn and I also visited on our journeys. See last week’s post on Athens.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 7.16.26 pmToday I talked about Ephesus, a great city that is currently situated just inland from Kusadasi on the coast of Turkey. One of the features of Turkey for us was the high levels of salesmanship that existed: Or to be more precise, being bombarded by market-sellers from every angle, including those who were trying to sell genuine fake watches.

A couple of thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul experienced the same sort of aggressive salesmanship from a group of tradesmen who made gadgets out of silver to support the worship of the great goddess Artemis, the supreme deity at Ephesus at the time.

The problem with these silver merchants was that while they were talking about Artemis as though she was very important to them, what really worried them was that if people started following this Jesus that Paul was promoting and stopped worshipping Artemis, they would also stop buying Artemis merchandise and their livelihood would be threatened.

I call it genuine fake religion when people talk as if they’re on speaking terms with God, but are really only interested in what they can get out of their religion in terms of financial reward or even a well-polished ego. It’s pretty easy to use religious language to give people the impression that you’re that little better than others … a little more spiritual … a better Christan. It makes the person who’s doing it feel good and makes the other person feel a little worse.

I’ve got a feeling that God’s not interested in genuine fake religion, but needs a whole lot more honesty, both in the way we interact with him and the way we interact with each other.

I feel like I’m about to burst into tears all the time. Perhaps I didn’t pray enough, exercise faith enough, oppose the devil enough. I can hardly pray at the moment though. Feelings of spiritual failure haunt me.

Honest transparency accompanied by gentle playfulness makes Sheridan Voysey’s latest book, “Resurrection Year” a refreshing contribution to an understanding of the human condition and the workings of God in the harshness of life.

Former Sonshine fm announcer and Open House host, Sheridan Voysey and his wife Merryn open not only their front door, but the doors of their hearts and minds to give readers a glimpse of their personal grief and the journey of healing through what they called their “Resurrection Year”.

For 10 years the couple struggled with childlessness, battling the issues associated with infertility, including IVF and adoption. “Resurrection Year” traces some of that journey giving the reader an insight into the heart of a couple who have a deep faith in God, yet experience real human emotions of grief, anger, disappointment and doubt.

God, this is cruel—leaving us in this wilderness. We’ve walked round in circles for years—tired, thirsty, and confused. One minute we’ve glimpsed the Promised Land, and the next minute you’ve barred us from entering it.

With the words of a friend ringing in their ears that they should take a “resurrection year”, Sheridan and Merryn left successful careers in Australia to take a holiday in Europe before settling into a new life in England. For them it was not just a case of starting a new life, but of grappling with the issues around childlessness and seeking God’s direction for them in accepting and understanding their place in a world where everything around them reminded them of what could have been.

What are we to be? Who will we become? Will we forever feel sad as we walk past a playground, with its parents and toddlers and games of tag?

This is not a book that ends on a victorious note of prayers being answered, but it does end with a deep sense that the God who encompasses the earth is fully present in the lives and home of those who trust in Him. This is a book that addresses the realities of life through the experience of two people and their journey together through grief and hope. It’s a book that reassures the reader that even when life doesn’t seem to be handing out the answers we expect, God has a gracious way of filling the empty spaces.

Sheridan Voysey: “Resurrection Year. Turning broken dreams into new beginnings”. Published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee.

Available on Amazon today.