Travelling Light. The Art of Shorthauling it.

20130517-180333.jpg In recent months I have perfected the short haul trip.

Having spent 1 out of 2 weeks on a planes to various European based cities or work travel, i have gotten pretty good at packing small, and travelling lite. Which as a man carrying the amount of tech that I usually do is often quite a challenge. Here is the run down:

1 incase Go Backpack. 1 HP Elitebook Folio 13" - The Outlook Running Workhorse 1 iPad Mini 16GB Wifi in Black 1 Logitech Ultramini Keyboard for iPad Mini 1 Samsung Galaxy S3 in White 1 iPhone 5 32GB 1 Proporta TurboCharge Battery Pack 1 Pair of Beats By Dre Bluetooth Headphones (for the plane) 1 Pair of Senheisser in ear 501 headphones (for conference calling) A selection of accompanying wires, chargers and plug adaptors Washbag (including Gilette ProGlide, Molton Brown Black Pepper Body Wash, Kheils Face Fuel Moisturiser and Molton Brown Ultimate Shave Creme) Spare undies and socks Spare shirt. Jacket.

This my friends - will EASILY see you through 2 days of meetings and an overnight stop if you include the clothes you already have on your back without ever having to see a plug socket. Now for those of you still with me and who aren't currently working out how to steal my backpack let me explain why I bring this to your attention.

Recently I have done a fair amount of writing and speaking on the topic of discerning Gods purpose for our lives. As per last weeks post about "Whether God Cares Where You Work" - I have also found this seems to be on the minds of many friends and colleagues right now too.

One of the recurring themes in these conversations has been about the sheer amount of options that people now have - careers aren't defined for life any more and we are far more aware of the get rich quick learning options out there to get ahead. A trip into any airport bookstore (about the only place to find a physical one nowadays) you will find

"10 Rules of Strategy" Neurolinguist Programming for Dummies 101 things to do with Macaroons

To be clear here - I think the fact that our generation will no longer have their futures dictated by the first 5 years of their working life is amazing - we have choice and that is great.

But I have noticed that there is an undercurrent of discontent being stirred by all these options with a few friends - which brings me back to my backpack.

The art of the shorthaul pack is not really about what you choose to leave behind - its about what you choose to leave in. Learning to mix the right blend of essential. In her book "Seven" - Jen Hatmaker took on the challenge of picking and eating just 7 food items for a whole month. She new she had to find the right balance of nutrition and versatility of ingredients if she were to make it the whole month.

Constraint isn't always there to make us exclude things. It is sometimes there to make us truly value the things we include.

God packed you and me with a certain box of stuff to be going on with in life. Some of it is bound up in the talents we have through our genetics, inherited down the ages. Some he gives us through the nourishment of great teachers and resources, still others are added to us by time into which we are born and the season in which we are called to serve him.

But whatever he has put into your specific backpack of talents and giftings - he put them their for you to use. He gave you a specific set of stuff you would need in this life so you didn't have to hang around checking in your bags.

There is great freedom in knowing you don't need to be awesome at everything.

You can just carry on.

Learning to be alone

When was the last time that you were alone? I mean truly alone. Not on the way to work, or in Starbucks before a meeting or even on the toilet. When were you last truly cut off, intentionally - seperate? We have never been so connected, so immersed, so attached as we find ourselves today. We sit in on the tube idly fiddling with iPhones and Blackberry's. I find myself constantly connected via twitter of facebook or foursquare to my extended network.

The truth is that it's very rare for us to be alone any more.  Which get's me wondering if that's ok or not? I think maybe not - which may seem odd coming from me. My job is getting people to talk more, to share, to connect. Even here, writing this now I have email open, tweetdeck, the TV on in the background and my iPhone in my pocket.


I think by never truly being alone, we find ourselves missing out on something truly key to who we are - introspection. Seeing who God has made us to be, who we are becoming, or worse striving to become like. I think we fear that element of looking at ourselves in case we don't like what we see when we go there - but we must.

Jesus called us to 'be still and know that I am God' - That is pretty tricky to do with all these distractions, so I have a challenge for you - find some time this week to be alone. Take a look at where you have come from, where you are going and where you are - because it's in that place of alone-ness that we see how valuable our connectedness really is.

*Thanks to @flowerdust for her post "Do You Feel Lonely?" - which prompted this Lamentation*
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Sociality: Twitter, The Church & The Trinity

Last night as a part of a theology night run by my church St Marys London I explored a little about what we can learn from looking at how God behaves as the Trinity (God in three persons, bound together by love), particularly in the light of what we see now as the social communication revolution (or Social Media Revolution - but as will become clear, I am not a fan of that term). Below is both the audio from the talk, along with the accompanying Prezi presentation (click through on the right arrow button to follow along!)

Sociality: Twitter, The Church & The Trinity by James Poulter by jamespoulter

Finding Space

I write this from the place I do most of my writing, the Starbucks on Baker Street (up by the station), just a few blocks away from church (St Marys). I usually would be sat here with Holly but in her own words "ditched me" to escort her mum and god daughter home. It was that phrase - ditched, that got me thinking. To Holly and to many others the idea of giving someone two hours to do nothing in particular can be a negative, but not for me. I think we could all do with ditching ourselves once in a while, partiulaly if you are like me a coffee junkie city type with a schedule that has a mind of it's own. It's somethig that I have been thinking about for a while, the fact that we have gradually let a subtle form of consumerism creep into our lives that makes us feel that if we don't allot a task to a empty spot of time that somehow, we are not living life to it's fullness.

Maybe we aren't individually to blame for this, in fact I am not sure that blame lies at anyone's doorstep, but collectively many of us seem to have duped ourselves into a busyness that consumes so much of our time that we rarely get a moment to realise just how busy we have become.

Workplaces, family life and sadly the church has not helped in this. The 9-5 is a myth, extra curricular activities for many occupy more time than the curricular, and we in the church have got our meetings down to a fine art, so much so that it just seems wrong not to cram ever evening of a week with another one.

We seem to as a society become so good and developing, editing, polishing and delivering content that we have lost sight of the reason we developed it in the first place - that reason, I think, is connection.

We saught to create courses, classes and creativity thinking that by giving people something to do, connection and community would just burst out, but somehow there is still so much disconnection, isolation and busyness. Maybe our content got in the way of that connection ever forming in the first place?

So what can we do? How do we get back to a place where we can connect at a truely human level? Well I think it's by opening up some space, in our spirits and in our diaries to just... be. Because how will we ever hear the footsteps of God walking with us if the sound of our own thundering to the next meeting drown his out?

So may you next time you get ditched, dumped or deserted, allow yourself, give yourself permission, to have some space, to reconnect with the one whose diary is always free for a chat, and who set the rhythms of the universe in motion.