Jim Me and Brendan

The holes in people’s lives need to be filled
I get that. I understand that.
But you’ve got to be careful what you fill them with
Do you get that? Understand that?

The scars in people’s lives need to be healed
I get that. I understand that.
But you’ve got to be careful what you heal them with.
Do you get that? Understand that?

These words of Peter Himmelman's have been echoing around my brain for a few weeks. Himmelman is a son-in-law of Bob Dylan but that is way down the list of why you should know him. He is a magnificent songwriter, committed to his Jewish faith and spiritually wise enough to share with those of us of other faiths.

This song from 245th Peace Song, the lead off track on his 2017 record There Is No Calamity has all that spiritual sensitivity that I love about Himmelman's writing. 

As I listen I am thinking of all of us humans who know that there is a mess going on inside us. We need nurture, we need healing. Where we look for the nourishment and healing is what concerns Himmelman.

Scapegoating, killing, hating on the other 
Isn’t it time that we finally discover
Everyone you see could be your sister and your brother
Did you forget that in your pain? Has weakness made you insane?
Stop the hate. Stop the hate. 

Violence is where Himmelman sees people filling their void, their hunger, their need. I could list a whole lot of other things - alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, self harm, sexual promiscuity... addictions, depressions, violence indeed.

When we realise that we are a mess, living in a mess, it is what we do with that self knowledge that will be the key to living or dying.

Many of us add God to the mix. Where is he in our mess and in the mess of the world. Personal events or even world events can so rattle us that we feel that we have lost God or that we have become distant from God or does god even exist.

On Sunday night in Fitzroy we will go deep into he mess. My friends Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus will be launching their book Deeper Into The Mess; Praying Through Tough Times. It is a book that doesn't ignore the mess. It runs towards the mess. It confronts the mess. This is all very Saint Ignatius. Us Protestants can learn something from that too.

This is Jim and Brendan's second book together, though they have published on their own. For two years they have been touring Finding God in the Mess - Meditations for Mindful Living and as they have shared with people across the country Deeper Into The Mess was born and became essential.

The book is all about praxis. It is about the whole body not just the head. Some stories and reflections of insight are laid out, Scriptural base is given and then very practical action prayer comes out of it. Jim's poetry is made beautiful by Brendan's photos and both their vibrant Christian lives blend powerfully in wisdom and avenues to find God, whatever the mess.

Suicide, anger, anxiety, fear and breakdown are just some of the messes that they take on in the most creative and gently pastoral of ways.

Jim and Brendan understand the hole and scars that Peter Himmelman sings about. They are just as careful about where the healing begins. 

On Sunday night expect songs and poetry and reflections. The marvellous Beki Hemingway will be adding her awesome voice. I will be interviewing Jim and Brendan about the book and how to use it.

Be prepared to run towards your mess. Be prepared to take some help for your journey. Be  prepared for the healing to begin.

Deeper Into The Mess; Praying Through Tough Times will be launched in Fitzroy (77 University Street) on Sunday May 19th, 2019 at 7pm. ALL WELCOME!



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