Sarah McCarten


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When I tell what I believed about church.

churchSome time during 2006 I wrote this and then I said it at a talk I gave at the home group I was part of:

‘I don’t want to be part of a church that is renowned for building good venues, or for doing good services. I don’t want the church of my generation to be remembered for the great music we have produced or the talented worship leaders we’ve have.

I don’t want to be part of a church where everyone is lovely and I don’t want to be part of a church where I’m friends with everyone.

The church I want to be part of is in love with and in awe of Jesus.  Where the most important part of everything we do together is whether or not Jesus shows up. A church that is totally sold out for Him, where nothing else matters.  A church that will do anything to connect with their God, even if that means late nights and early mornings everyday, we will do what it takes.  Because the truth is if we seek His Kingdom first, everything else will fall into place.

If we are the church and we do it right, this will become so attractive to people who don’t yet belong to us, that they will want to come in and we will take them in, us connecting with each other and with our God will be our outreach and our mission.

I want to be part of a church that’s raw and that’s real.  A church that is searching for meaning.

I want to be part of real support network where we can call upon each other whenever and wherever we need to.  It’s safe to be honest and vulnerable.  It’s not meant to be fun all the time, but it’s not meant to be hard all the time either. We will see and know the joy that surpasses all understanding, daily.

The church is accountable, and responsible for each other.

The Church I want to be part of is a place where there is an opportunity for collective worship, through song and by other means.

The church I want to be a part of understands that people are different, and that one congregation doesn’t fit all but ultimately we all fit together.

The community in which the church is, is not necessarily the place where they live but the group of people whom they are a part of, that could be the people who they work with or their social group or their family’s, but these are the people who they reach out to.

I want to be part of a church that lives in the reality of the cross.

I want to believe that there is a place for everyone in the church and that if I’m in my right place that when I’m not there I’ll be missed, not in an arrogant way but just in a where’s Sarah, it’s not the same without her, no one can fulfil my role the way I do.  Everyone’s contribution is valid and valuable.  The church aught to be a place where people are changed and where transformations occur – we shouldn’t be the same person who arrived.

We need to make disciples of each other and make ourselves vulnerable enough for others to make disciples of us.

I read it again and I cried a little.

During the time I wrote this the house group I was a part of was working out whether or not to go it alone as a house church. Ultimately, we decided we’d be better off on our own. I left the group about 18 months after it’s formation moving London to study theology and about a year after that the group stopped meeting altogether. I tell you this to give you some of my back-story, not because I think our church failed, but because I think it was brilliant, it was just what a lot of needed for that time.

The reason that I cried was because I was such and idealist young person. I wasn’t satisfied with where I was, for sure, but I had aspirations about where I wanted to be. So often these days I’m cynical but I produce no alternative. I say that things are bad, but that’s just how things are.

I’m not saying that I was right in all the things I wrote, but at least I had purpose; If I wrote it now I’d certainly be more articulate and my theology better.

Someone once said that we should be the change we want to see. I’ve not been that I’ve been that and for that I am sorry.

Thanks so much for reading, it really does mean the world to me, I tweet here, you should take a look I’m pretty entertaining.

 

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Jealousy

A couple of months ago I put out a request for things that you guys might like to see me write about. I got a solitary request, which was from my lovely friend Max. So thanks for that guys!

Max asked me to write about the person that I am most jealous of in the world. Christians aren’t supposed to get jealous are they?  So I thought it quite an odd question, and apart from Max’s girlfriend, there aren’t many people who I’m envious of really.

I try to be a the-glass-is-half-full kind of a girl. So seriously choosing a person of whom I’m jealous is a hard one. I might look at a girl and think; ‘you’re married and happy, I’m jealous of you,’ but then I look at her husband and think ‘actually I got the better deal.’ So, I’ve decided to write about the kind of life traits that I am jealous of. I know that it’s not exactly what Max requested, but I’m using [a little] artistic licence.

People who get to write for a living.
Please don’t get me wrong; I love my job. I’m so grateful for the fun I get to have at work and the flexibility my job affords me. However, I am jealous of those people who get to spend their whole time writing and cultivating their craft. More than that, I’m jealous that they have enough inspiration and motivation to fill their time. I’m jealous that they don’t get bored.

People who know what they’re doing with their lives.
My dad has never had another job. He started working for the company he works for when he was 16 years old, this year he will be 55, that’s a long time. That’s longer than I’ve been alive. He did of course start at the bottom and work his way up, but essentially his career has been the same. I think that I see him sometimes and think I want that, he knows exactly what he’s doing, whereas I do not. I can see about 3 strides ahead of me, he sees to retirement, and he has done since I was a little girl.

So when I see my peer with a plan, I do get a little envious. I think I wish I knew with certainty what I want to be when I grow up. For me the uncertainty comes with this desire I have not to fail. If I say, for example, that I want to be a writer when I grow up, then if I do not do that I have failed. But if I say, I want to be a nanny for now; I’m pretty successful at that.

Married people.
I have a lot of friends who are married. While I look at most of their spouses and think I wouldn’t want to wake up with you every morning. There is something that I’m envious, and that’s the fact that they’re done with the dating game. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy going on dates, but there’s something about the security of their marriages that I feel like I’d like to have. Not to mention that the family politics of weddings would be done with.

So, if you’re married and you write for a living and you know what you want to be when you grow up; watch your back! I’m after your life.

Thanks so much for reading you guys! It really does mean the world to me!


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Being Busy

Can I tell you something? I hate being busy. I hate not having time to myself. I genuinely like being on my own, don’t feel sorry for me because I mean it. I really mean it. I feel like our society tells us that it’s good to be busy, being busy is the thing do be doing, it doesn’t really matter what you’re busy with. I was out with friends recently, one of them said ‘oh I’m so busy, I’ve got this and that to do.’ Another friend chirped in ‘I’ve got this and that an the other to do.’ I said ‘oh actually I’m not very busy at all this week.’ And it was like a shock to them. Like I’d admitted that I’d intentionally bought the wrong shoes (or something). It got me to wondering what is it with our generation’s preoccupation with business?

Here are three reasons, I think, we like to be busy.

Being busy protect us from having to invest in real relationships.
If we’re constantly going from social situation to another, spreading ourselves thinly it means that no one knows us that well. It means that we get to spend a little bit of time with a lot of people. I personally don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be. We see this in the life of Jesus, he spent his days with 12 others, sure he had other acquaintances but these 12 were really the people he spent time with. Even beyond that, he had a smaller circle within the disciples whom he was closer to. That, for me, speaks volumes.

Guys, please choose wisely who you spend your quality time with, it is important. If you want to be known and to know people the way to do it is to spend time, good time, with people, and unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day. If however, you want to remain an enigma, carry on, being busy, not being known, but I am convinced that the loneliness will catch up with you some day.

It keeps us from considering what’s important.
I know what’s important. Making time to call friends and family who are far, writing, thinking, reading. These things are important to me. So why do I construct ‘business’ in my life to prevent me from doing these things? It’s because these things are the most challenging things in my life, they make me consider who I am and what I’m about, they make me assess myself. That’s the most difficult thing I have to do. So if I’m busy doing other things, it is easy to push these things aside. Even though I know it’s these things that make me who I am. Sometimes, I don’t want to be who I am.

It makes us feel important.
If you’ve always got something to do, it makes you feel important. It’s pretty simple really. We fill our time with things that aren’t important in order to make us feel important. We do it subconsciously. Often it not to make us look important to those around us, it’s simply that if we look in our diary’s and see that they’re full we feel popular.

So, that was Sarah McCarten’s guide to being busy. Please don’t for a minute think that I want you all to live like a hermit, I think it’s important to be doing stuff, I just think we need to think about the stuff we’re doing!

Thanks so much for readin]g! It really does mean a lot to me!

Please note that I found this picture/quote after I wrote this blog – just saying!