James Prescott

exploring how words & stories shape lives

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The Ordinariness Of Grace (Guest Post by Ashley Hales)

Today I’m honoured to host Ashley Hales on the blog. Ashley is a blogger, author and mum who loves talking about story, and believes deeply in the power of story to shape us. She’s an excellent writer & become a good friend, I’m delighted to host her here, talking today about grace. So without further ado, over to Ashley:

This post was going to be about how grace is violent, how it knocks us down and changes our categories and realigns our desires. Something akin to how Flannery O’Connor unites grace with the grotesque in daily ways. Grace does do that – it rushes in and knocks you down.

But it’s the quietness of grace, its small and ordinariness, that I want to tell you about.

You see, I grew up on a diet of “you can be anything you want to be” and “the world is your oyster.” And as an entire generation who is coming to age now knows, such statements just don’t hold water anymore.

You can’t be anything you want. You can’t just live an exotic life and get rich quick. You can no longer simply work your way up the corporate ladder and arrive at the pinnacle of success.

How To Begin The Journey To Your Calling

I don’t write because its fun. I don’t write because I always like it. I don’t write because it always makes me feel good. I don’t write to get applause or to make money.

I write for two reasons:

Because I love it.

And because it’s my calling.

Calling is an often-used word, sounds a bit corny and over-romanticised.

But calling is important – for all of us.

How Grace Exposes Our Truth

When you create, a truth about you is always revealed – whether you intend it to or not. As I’ll talk about in more depth in a future post, you can’t hide the truth about yourself when you create, for good or ill.

In the last 18 months I have been working on a book on grace. It’s a subject close to my heart, and one which needs more said about it. I am desperate to share this message with the world.

I share stories of grace from my own life in the book, and others stories.

But in the last 8 months in particular I have discovered in even more harsh reality of the theory I had talked about.

It’s strange. Writing about grace opened my eyes in some way to the grace which was taking place in my own life,

You see grace isn’t a good feeling we get when things go well. It’s not a simple peaceful feeling or emotion.

Grace is violent. If we let it, it tears us open and exposes the truth of who we are – the good we don’t want to believe, and the bad we choose to ignore. And if we allow it, it helps us work through these issues.

Together At The Table: A Glimmer Of Heaven

It’s been a privilege these last few weeks sharing this series on LGBT and faith. I’ve shared my story, we’ve heard stories from a gay Christian and bisexual Christian, and I’ve shared some resources to help you on your journey. And after this series is over I’m going to continue advocating for this issue, on social media and occasionally here.

But I want to finish on a positive note, with a story of hope.

You see it’s been a long time since I’ve been truly hopeful about the church, and the Christian faith. I often stand back from both of these and see such brokenness, such fear.

I’ve seen fear controlling much of the Christian faith and Christian church. This fear we all have of the unknown, the unseen, the mysterious. Circumstances and forces outside our control. And it’s perfectly human to feel this way – most of us do. I do, much of the time.

This I see most of all in relation to the issue of sexuality and faith. So much fear. But I also see a lot of hope too.

10 Things To Know About Bisexuality (Guest Post by Liz Mallory)

Today we continue the series on LGBT & faith. We’ll conclude next week with a personal story, but today, we have a guest post from Liz Mallory, who I guest posted for last week. She’s a Christian, a great writer, a married woman, and a bisexual.

Bisexuality is rarely talked about in context of faith – and today Liz bravely dispels some common myths surrounding bisexuality & bisexuals.

I’m delighted to welcome Liz here.

I am a woman. I’m attracted to women, men, and genderqueer individuals. I’m married to a man whom I love dearly. And I’m a Jesus follower.

I’ve known for years my attractions weren’t “normal.” But it took me until 2014 to have a name for what I am: bisexual.

Bisexuals are called a lot of things we aren’t: polyamorous, loose, unfaithful, sex-obsessed, questioning, slutty. None of those things describe who I am. For a long time I went back and forth between calling myself lesbian and straight. Neither fit right.

All this could have been avoided if I’d known what bisexual actually means.

Building Bridges – LGBT & Faith: Resources

Hi friends, hope you’ve been enjoying the series on LGBT issues/stories & faith. Next week I’ll be hosting Liz Mallory, a bisexual Christian who has written a comprehensive series on God and sexuality/LGBT issues on her blog, which covers every dimension of this issue, and the series will conclude with me sharing another story.

I’m privileged to say I’m guest posting for Liz today, and my post goes live at about 8.30pm UK time today. You can check it out here.

But in this post I’m going to do something slightly different in relation to this issue & maybe help you on this journey in a different way.

It Does Get Better – A Gay Christian’s Story (Guest Post by Gareth Streeter)

Today I’m honoured to host Gareth Streeter here on my blog. Gareth is PR for the Christian charity Oasis UK, a Christian, and in a monogamous same-sex relationship. Today he’s sharing some of his story with us. Take a read, it’s deeply moving & challenging for us all:

If someone had asked me to share my story – or at least, my ‘gay Christian’ story –a few years ago, I would probably have said no.

Being gay, I would have said, was something I had made my peace with. I was not a member of any gay sub-cultures and my sexuality was not particularly a big part of my identity. People at peace rarely have the need to talk about it!

But in the last few months, something’s changed

How & Why I Became A Straight Ally

Last week I introduced a new series of posts, on the ‘topic’ of LGBT and faith, and shared some of my thoughts on the issue, and some boundaries/ground rules for this series. In the next two weeks I’ll sharing guest posts from a gay Christian in a same-sex relationship, and a bi-sexual Christian happily married to a man.

But before we get to those, I felt it would be helpful to share my own journey with you, and explain how I arrived at the position I now hold, as a Christian straight ally.

As I mentioned last week, a straight ally is someone who whilst straight themselves, takes a stand for LGBT rights, to advocate for them, and work with them to grow awareness. In the Christian church, this would be someone who advocates for a more welcoming, Christ-like approach to the LGBT community from the church, building bridges between the church and the LGBT community, and speaking love to this community.

I mentioned last week one of my reasons for being so passionate about this, is because of my heart for the outsiders, the minority groups, the ones others forget. But as someone who is straight, with no immediate family in the LGBT community, I accept it still could appear confusing to some why I’m so passionate about this subject and where the interest came from.

So let me explain.