Thursday, July 03, 2008


Recently, I've had the opportunity to do some guest spots on Radio Rhema's morning show with Aaron Ironside. I met Aaron at the Vision Network Congress earlier this year, and while we are quite different people, our church planting backgrounds and that intangible connection with a kindred spirit meant we "clicked". So he rings me up when the real heavyweights go away on overseas trips or something (I'm hoping that over time the RBG empire will pay me thousands of dollars so I can do the same).

This week the topic was thankfulness. Which was fine. Except that I had a funeral to go to. And, it was the 6th anniversary of my wife Claire's death.

Which was perfect really. Cos I am very thankful on this day, perhaps more than any other? So I gave thanks on the airwaves for Claire:
  • I gave the thanks for the early years of our marriage - all those "firsts" you do together
  • I gave thanks for her time of illness and the strength that brought to our relationship
  • I gave thanks for her death - her body was so worn out, it was time
  • I gave thanks for the testimony of her life and death - such a serenity and faith
  • I gave thanks for the example of her strength and care for everyone struggling around her
  • I gave thanks for the selfless way she made sure to release me to my life that would go on
  • I gave thanks for a new love that is big enough to provide me space to remember
  • I gave thanks for a daughter who will be one this month, who bears Claire's name although not her genes, but I hope, her character.


Claire Jones 1969 - 2002


servant said...

Well done!

I don't know if you've heard, but the feedback from that specific slot has been fabulous. Many people connected with what you had to say... though one person thought you were from the "Ascension" church ;) "Cession" obviously didn't fit their perceived church name vocab.

Cession is taking over RBG :D

Ken said...

Brett, very cool. Thanks for sharing such tender sentiments.


Jack said...

Well I came here via Rhett's review of you and what can I say, but 'underrated!!' It sounds like you've had some intense highs and lows over the last decade. Those 'thank yous' are very moving and inspiring. Can I ask whether you always felt that way or whether its been a process to get there?
Claire reminds me (both in looks and the characteristics you mention) of a friend who died July 4 last year of cancer. Although she had to leave behind a loving husband and 3 young kids, she too faced death with incredible courage and selflessness. Thanks for sharing.

BJ said...

Jack - welcome in - yes Rhett is constantly underrating me! But its OK he's young...

Its been a bit of both. There are process bits and there are bits that I can only put down to "the peace that passes all understanding" (cos it passes my understanding).

Mostly I find that its counter intutitve - the more I try to hold it together the less together I am. The more I surrender my control (which in my case includes unseemly abuse towards God) the less I need to take control. There is a sense in which acknowledged desperation is a powerful act of surrender even when its not particularly polite!

I suppose I should add that for me, most of my life has been about getting over me - and thats what i figure following Jesus is mostly about.

Rhett said...

Dude... what can I do to show my love for you!???

Jack said...

Thanks for that bj - I can relate to what you are saying and I'm guessing they were hard truths to discover as generally no-one tells a grieving person "don't be a try hard and get over yourself." -Dullard translation); ).
But seriously, when you say 'surrender' do you mean surrender to God, hand all your troubles over to Him? That must first require a lot of trust in God?

"I suppose I should add that for me, most of my life has been about getting over me - and thats what i figure following Jesus is mostly about." Yep I can relate to that one too, funnily enough for me it was during my phase of attending a church that I became most self centred though. There seemed to be so many courses etc focussed on self improvement and/or self-examination.

Oh and Rhett - you could give the dude an Apple Macbook. That way he could give it to a certain person, gain a real 'servant' for sometime, and save us the pain of following 1000 trades on a certain blog...

servant said...

You, the reading public have the power to make it a lot less trades than 1,000... it's completely in your hands. I am at your mercy ;)

Help a brother out.

... but this wonderful post and the great ensuing conversation aren't about me, so I'll get over myself and let you wonderful people get back to it. :)

BJ said...

You show your love in so many ways. Any more and I'd be greedy.

BJ said...


Yes, I mean surrender to God, but as much as anything it was surrendering my pretense at control. So often, that plays out as desperation in my life - not necessarily an explicit act of surrender to God. But in the war of wills that characterises my relationship with Him, then implicity its surrender to God!

Trust is interesting. I am a big believer that we only learn to trust by trusting. Because trust involves a certain vulnerability, its not trust in my book to weigh the facts, assess track records - thats something short of trust - maybe necessary, but not trust.

My story of faith is one of atheist to believer by subjective miracle. I look back on that and weigh the facts - either it was real or I am mentally ill. I (although not everyone I know) have discounted the latter. So maybe my starting point for trust allows me more instinctive response to God's reality than otherwise might apply for me.

I hear you on the consumeristic impulse of the church. We live in a culture saturated with consumerism. Small wonder the church trips up on it sometimes.

Jack said...


Thanks for taking the time to reply to my questions. I agree that we only learn to trust by trusting but real experience can be just as powerful a way to learn not to trust. My story of faith (or lack of) went from atheist to believer through a subjective experience also but now I'm at best agnostic. I suspect the difference is that I don't trust my mind as much as you do yours. You are right that facts and track records etc are not enough and I'm guessing that when you also doubt your own 'instinctive response to God's reality' then its time to give up.?

Jack said...

Oh and Frank - I do hope the trade up works - I was just being cheeky, I'd help out but I simply dont need earplugs. As for getting over yourself - best of luck, we are all in that one together - actually even bj needs to change his blog title ; )