What It's About

TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Wounded Healer

People might ask why it is thus,

That a person of your kind is even involved in this,

But there’s opportunity in it to show them the bus,

A point many afflicted are sure to miss.

This bus referred is how we got here,

Variety of kind there is an abyss,

And the bus is the point – one we hold dear,

For this reason alone we cannot dismiss.

To the blessed wounded healers come to be near,

Scourged they’ve been – trust them for sure,

Because they’re ones who’ve dealt with their fear,

Ones who’ve experienced a certain Divine cure.

Go with them in truth – sure to be delight,

Doubled together in journeys to care,

Futures of wisdom burgeoning bright,

Lighter by the day our burdens to bear.


Wounded healers are something else. They’re blessed to be a blessing; God’s warriors called most intrinsically to a particular passion.

They’ve been scourged by a nuance of life and having been healed by the Holy Spirit they’re just thrilled to have opportunities to help their spiritual kin—those afflicted by the self-same things they were.

Scepticism Follows Thought for Devious Motives

Many who are ministered to are in a vulnerable position. They necessarily must trust their mentors, pastors and counsellors. It is natural, then, that ‘ministers’ must earn the respect of onlookers who are characteristically suspicious of devious motives.

This is where the wounded healer is set apart. They don’t have the slightest impure motive. They’ve been in the hellhole and but for the grace of God they’d still be there. Gratitude has become them.

Which Bus?

We’re all on certain ‘buses’ in life. Some catch the stock market bus, others the gaming bus, others still the addiction bus, and still others the abuse bus. (We most often do not pick our buses—they pick us.) There are thousands of buses—good ones and not-so-good ones.

If we get on the wrong bus for healing the method’s not going to be effective for us.

That’s why we should welcome the wounded healer onto the right bus, as well as those needing that bus. That bus is headed in the right direction, and will take the best stops, for both.

Time to Trust

The wounded healer can be trusted; that we’ve established.

Trust, however, is a tricky business, especially for those hurt and desperate for healing. Trust is action-oriented faith. It’s hard for some to place their trust in people when people have been responsible for so much harm.

But now might be the time, place and circumstance to trust. One more chance to be issued.

Indicators of vindicated trust are quick to show themselves. Burdens lighten. A journey to care is shared. Delight can be doubled. Encouragement is known.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: http://www.soul-expressions-abuse-recovery.com/Wounded-Healer.html.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

For and Against the Flow of the River of Life

“God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.”

~Reinhold Niebuhr, The Serenity Prayer.

Life is a flow not unlike a river. Whether we’re going with the flow or against it determines the direction and success of our lives.

There are times for both; to go with the flow by accepting what appears unchangeable or to go against the flow with the courage to co-opt change. To the value of how much we get these two right is the measure of our wisdom.

This leads us to pray, for prayer is the language of intercession to God in the seeking of the holy will.

Prayer – Looking for Guidance

The wisdom of choosing the appropriate time for going with or against the flow is as easy as disconnecting emotive strains whilst having context wired to reason.

Many prayers are said but just as many, and more, are thought of. This is the humble certitude to weigh matters in humility, for that’s certainly God tipping wisdom in through us.

Prayer is not just eyes closed and hands together knelt on the floor.

It is the issuance of the Spirit at the request of the person seeking help. And the Spirit helps by informing, goading and restraining.

For or Against? – Choice, Then Deployment

Inspired lives are lived in the lap of wise decisions—whether with the flow or against.

The quality of those decisions is dependent on the Spirit-sense that the person has guiding the moment one way or the other. Then comes the actual deployment of the decision, for there’s no point going for or against if a lack of care or discretion despoils a good decision.

Deployment can’t be understated, and therefore neither can humility. Humility never gets carried away with itself.

True Serenity

The Serenity Prayer can indicate that when we get decisions right regarding acceptance and courage—for or against the flow—serenity is the felt result. Serenity isn’t just the forerunner for accepting things we cannot change—it’s also a product of wisdom.

Serenity is wisdom’s reward for the effective life. Serenity is also confidence for more of the same. Similarly, faith is vindicated by accepting or challenging the appropriate circumstances.

Perhaps the best thing about true serenity, the way it functions via this prayer, is it’s kept simple.

For or against the flow of life is best begun simple—life has a way of being complicated enough.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Defying ‘Little Bird’ Conditions of Blackmail

“A little bird told me last night that if I hold my breath and do everything right you might come back.”

~Kasey Chambers, Little Bird.

Human beings can be manipulative creatures; blackmailing those they’re in cahoots with at the slightest hint of not getting their own way. Of course, it’s the rampant co-dependency of a threatened person who’ll say, “A little bird told me to tell you to do/not do [the condition].”

The main trouble is most of us don’t want to go against convention and we only need one piece of negative feedback before options are seriously reconsidered. This is even against those whom may not think that way—the silent majority.

Identifying Those Prone to Placing Conditions

Blackmail is a kind of manipulated extortion, though it’s generally not illegal; but it is immoral. And blackmail might even be too strong a word for how subtle people’s manipulation is... that fact, however, makes it all the more insidious.

Many of the ones resorting to manipulation or blackmail aren’t even aware of it, and they’ll be quick to deny the charge as it comes. This further threatens our confidence as it becomes their word against ours.

The test is does it feel like secretive manipulation? Proper disciplinary action is not underhanded. It can be accounted for and is considered ‘just’ by the prevailing majority. Cases of manipulation tending toward abuse, on the other hand, major on secrecy.

It’s important for us to identify those influences and influencers over our lives that choose such tactics. Once identified there can be boundaries[1] placed around them and their relationship with us. But it’s often not easy to do this; it will take much trial and error in designing these boundaries. In a small number of cases it might be wisest to end relationships that involve significant cases of manipulation.

Where we want to get to in relation to advice is the seeking, consideration and taking of advice from trusted advisers.

Trusted Advisors and True Success

“Without counsel, plans go wrong,

but with many advisers they succeed.”

~Proverbs 15:22 (NRSV).

Unlike the aforementioned advice—veiled as threats for non-compliance—plans made with trusted advisers are secure. Not only do we feel at ease, they tend to work out. And even when they don’t it’s not the end of the world. Our trusted advisers are there to help us pick up the pieces and they won’t be telling us, “I told you so!”

Each of us is less experienced than some that are close by, and besides, we just don’t have the perspective that others have, especially as we consider issues close to the emotive bone.

A trusted adviser is going to give us their advice for free. And they’re not going to be offended if we don’t take it or if we modify it—both through the use of our discretion—for all who wish to grow in wisdom are compelled to practice their discretion. How else are we to learn from our experiences?

Life gets easier and more peaceful when we have more trusted advisers and less manipulating influences in our court.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

[1] The “Boundaries” series of books by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend are very good in helping us understand the value and practice of boundaries in protecting our relationships.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Leave a False Impression?

Perhaps this has happened to you. Enter work to a clear schedule with hope to ease through the day—an uncommon luxury. Then, in the midst of juggling three tasks, a call comes through requiring both recall and conscious thinking ability (a combination I find frustrating when the cognitive space is maxed).

You try to be polite, but after the call’s finished you have the opportunity to reflect; it wasn’t good. There was little grace in the exchange from you to them.

At least some sense of wisdom has caused you to promise to call them back.

Apology – Language of the Second Chance

The follow-up call, to confirm details, is a great excuse to smooth any degree of ruffled feathers or false perception of what you’re really about. At the tail end of the call you don’t excuse your behaviour on the earlier call so much as you own it.

The apology is as quick and forthright as it’s genuine, so it’s therefore believed and integrity’s intact. Seems they understand.

On a par with healing miracles, this is a miracle too, for the facts are in and they stand up; the relationship looks to be resurrected—or it’s certainly not destined for the scrapheap yet. Indeed, to surmount such a small challenge fortifies it for bigger ones.

Forgiveness in the World

Allowance can be made for Christians’ thinking that forgiveness is an exclusive concept saved for them; for Christian-only interactions.

Forgiving earlier indiscretions because there’s an admitted reason—so long as that reason is credible to them—makes sense for the most part. What’s really being said is, “For the way I treated you, I don’t blame you if you got upset—I would have too.” It also says, “I was in the wrong, not you.” Or try this: “I’ll do better from now on if you can forgive me.” (It’s funny though; forgiveness rarely needs to be asked for in the secular world. Other words and means get us there.)

Those ideas above are compelling statements for redeeming ourselves.

Apology affords the grace of the second chance for us, and it facilitates something special for them too; it’s healing at a personal level and it’s healing for the hesitant, broken rapport—between both parties.

Healing Long and Lost – Waiting to Be Re-Discovered

The foregoing is astoundingly simple, yet for want of practice some find it hard. Whether it’s pride or a lack of know-how or confidence is irrelevant, this art of instantaneous relational healing stands within reach of everyone.

All it takes is a grasp on truth and the self-held value of fairness—then a pinch of courage.

Blessed is the person who’s at home owning their mistakes; apologising to the satisfaction of the majority, not bothered for the unpleasable minority. Best of all, the person at home in apology redeems the false impression, for we’re all nice people when the evil within is purged by the light of humility.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

When We Need Not Respond

Times when outcomes are known and all that can be ventured is innuendo and judgment, for nothing’s changing that outcome, there is nothing to be gained and much potentially lost in responding to a jibe.

Some people exist for that very moment—to wave the red rag about another’s face and spit into the face of retort. Why satisfy them?

It is much wiser for us to consider how things might turn out as we prepare to expel our response. Whilst this is not always easy, it’s made easier for the emotive toughening; the jettison of all sense of competition or comparison; a decision made.

Objectivity the Means – Peace the End

Objectivity is the golden mode as others are picking away at emotive seams. They shall be surprised that we can shelve our want just about at our will. They shall see what self-control is available as we trust in the Spirit to gain for us peace in the moment of torment.

The real game isn’t this thing that appears to wrangle with our hearts just now. Knowledge is space; giving us over to a grace that’s externally internal, something quite beyond understanding.

Vindication of Faith

Added to the peace that’s felt but by how we do not know is the witness of faith. This method of waiting upon, but over, temptation to respond actually worked! They were crushed, not us.

We knew that this method was a winner when their crushing brought us no joy at all—just understanding of the Spirit’s power to vanquish an enemy without even thought of a blow. Victory for inaction... now that’s power!

A Response That Works So Often

Wisdom is so often the matter of doing little to achieve a significant result; a little yeast works its way through all the dough.

With some people there is no winning, and that’s okay because winning is not our objective—it’s theirs. Why do we play a game beyond our intention and for another’s sadistic gain?

No, it just won’t do.

As the moments of inaction-as-response prevail we’re found thanking God, because it was a position of elevated, patient thinking—not of ego—that saw us through.

The response that doesn’t respond shows us how to deal with the next situation and the next and so on. It only has to work once; then we’re inspired to use it again.

This is tantamount to taking active control over our God-blessed destinies as fear about others that tease is swamped by an underpinning confidence in the Spirit that overwhelms the dark fight.

Better the counterpunch by different and unexpected tack—one that surprises as it overwhelms... one that takes surprisingly little effort... one that proves power of right over wrong.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Peter Harrison: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Block_and_Punch.jpg.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Time Economy

The more we mind our time now—just like handsome bank interest—the better our returns are in the future. Get this; the more time we’ll save for better use.

I’ve always marvelled at the concept of ‘saving’ something that never existed, or was never accumulated, in the first place. Still, it’s true. Wise use of time by not venturing into waste now is tending for us freed time for a moment to come.

Human beings are goal-setters, and those are time-based. What an individual might consider a waste of time engenders frustration within them as they engage in it beyond their own will. It’s the opposite reality of saving time—it’s costing time.

The Real Economy

We live in a time economy. The money economy is actually a fabrication of means. Money is a tool. Many, many people who are trapped in the materialism of ‘want, seek and have’ do not realise that they cannot have real security with things or experience.

As we continue the contrast between time and money we find time has eternal qualities about it; money, temporary. Regrets come for poor use of time; a poor person’s regret is remorse for how money was spent. They lost nothing.

The real economy—elements of which are the only thing we can lose and never reclaim—is time. Still, should we regret our poor use of it? No, regret is such a hollow thing without thanks for learning. Regret is merely God showing us a mistake—its purpose is learning.

Now, here’s an astounding thing:

None of Us Has Wasted Our Time

Time and contentment go hand in hand but many do not realise this.

There can only be dissatisfaction at our supposed poor use of time as we compare against others’ lives. Their lives are not ours. Perhaps God’s allowed us to wander from the cherished track for a reason—all ways point to the Almighty.

Whilst time is the only important thing, because it’s the only thing we cannot lay a hold of, wastes of time are inconsequential without recourse to comparison.

Drop comparisons. God’s not magnified in them.

Instead, we will all be found by God to have consumed our time here on earth, yet all will be rewarded differently. From this angle what use is it to second-guess God regarding the size and nature of the reward? We would be better just to focus on the placement of the foot—establishing discernment for the will of the Lord.

Time allows for no regret. There is only the next step. That’s all that counts.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: from Pink Floyd’s Time (1973) video clip.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Truthing in Love

“But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ...”

~Ephesians 4:15 (NRSV).

Wisdom of creation commands it like this,

State of harmony mandated from on High,

Blessed or cursed dependent on the gist,

Nothing on earth allowed to defy.

Humankind must speak and behave in love,

Otherwise it finds itself deep in a snare,

These laws of Wisdom are ordained from above,

Arrogant foolishness – the only to dare.

Consequences of passion adding to trouble,

Each mistake worn as a medallion of moss,

Damage control caused at the double,

Rues the day that people were crossed.

Better it is living our truth in love,

Harmonies of grace underpinning the tide,

Added is lining of truth from above,

So it is Wisdom’s to abide.


All of life is relational. In every way that we interact with life there’s relationship portents to be considered. Where other people are not involved, we have a relationship with ourselves and our God to maintain. Never alone, in this, are we.

And if we accept this fact, and there’s no good not accepting it, we can conjure a way of living that respects all parties—ourselves included.

Love First

Relationally, there’s safety and eternal respect in love. This is anything from the mushy variety to that which is unrequited of fear. As this character quality is sown into another person (or people) or other situations it involves risk that cannot lose—“Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

It’s only a ‘risk’ because it has to be deployed; it risks rejection. But whatever cannot be rejected cannot fail. Pure love cannot feel rejected. It’s too deeply sown away from itself.

But there’s a problem with naked love. Pure love without the key complementary element of truth sees love go gooey and it’s rendered meaningless, trite and cowardly. Indeed, without a hint of truth love begins to welcome fear into its midst. That would mean it fails to be love.

Then Truth

From relationships’ perspective, too much truth is dangerous. It must be seasoned appropriately because dealing with human beings is a tenuous experience. People are too easily hurt—it’s a fact of life.

Per the poem, if we have a lining of truth complementing our underpinning patient grace we’re set to succeed in our relationships. Truth is knife-edge. It must be present, but at perfect situational accord. Not many situations bear truth well, so it’s like salt—a little goes a long way.

‘Truthing’ in Love

Concepts of responsible love are best to involve our sprinkling of a loving approach with delectable portions of truth, tipped right and firm.

Sometimes people are devoid of love and their loveless truth crashes into others’ lives. Our ‘passion’ is tempered by patient love. But as soon as truth scampers love becomes weak and fear-ridden.

Truthing in love—that fine balance—is the productive nexus of all relationships.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Really, Lord, Why So Much?

“It is a dangerous thing to ask why someone else has been given more. It is humbling—and indeed healthy—to ask why you have been given so much.”

~Condoleezza Rice.

The title is a ridiculous one. Who really—within their spirit—asks this? Perhaps it’s true that there are a few that ask it sometimes. We would like to think the entire Christian populace did so. Indeed, how much better a place would the world be if we could only stop looking over the infernal fence?

Thanks for the Basics

What are the most basic things we take for granted? Sight, sound, the physical world, air to fill the lungs; for the fortunate, love...

Peel off a worthy list and quickly it runs to the thousands. The goodness of God astounds as quick as it overwhelms... and we’re so apt at opening the gift horse’s mouth.

It’s not our fault—it’s the sinful nature through and through.

Five seconds deprived of air—the commencement of suffocation or drowning—and we soon learn the comparative riches of plain breathing air that is so effusive at other times. Plain water is either life or death, depending on quantity and situation.

These are basic things with power and we don’t often enough respect that power—or where that power comes from.

Thanks for the Great Luxuries

Beyond the needs of our time are the things we’ve been given that we don’t even need; the items and auguries of wealth that vast parts of the world would only dream of laying captive.

It is a wondrous mystery just why we would even contemplate complaining because the ‘network is down’ or there’s no internet coverage in a region we find ourselves in.

We’ve become so reliant on modern conveniences that we expect them to work as we desire—when neither the desire nor the thing (in how it’s used) glorifies the Almighty.

How wonderful a God we have that we even have these luxurious technologies—ones that allow us instantaneous friendship rapport with those on the other side of the globe. Technology is just one salient example of the riches we take for granted.

The Role of Repentance

Sharp in its rejection of the world is the Christian’s best ally—that to repent before the Lord for known sin. The idea to cast ourselves on God for falling for such a weight of unthankful behaviour is to get us back on track—to acknowledge all things given us, and the Giver over all.

This is why we cannot be Christian without responses of repentance; our broken nature won’t allow us court with God other than to proclaim our reliance on Christ to get us there. We must have Jesus who makes us holy before God, so we can be cleansed of our unthankfulness.

And there we have something bigger than everything to be thankful for: the cross.

Really, Lord... when in our mire... to send and sacrifice Jesus... why so much?

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

When Will He Learn?

Women are perhaps forgiven for wondering when their man will learn—that is, when he will finally act the way she wants him to. The fact that it’s the wrong approach is beside the point—he will begin to “learn” quicker once her foot is off his throat.

And even if he doesn’t it’s of no consequence.

The aggrieved half of the relationship will sense the weight over their shoulders and the burden on their heart shift as a result of backing off.

This is because the balance of account will shift from external foci—his life, i.e. what he does or doesn’t do—back onto yours. Life gets simpler.

The moment any partner in a relationship realises they are still fundamentally alone is the moment when life can begin again (or for the first time). We are cosmically alone; and due God, that’s a fantastic reality.

We assign too much happiness to what others do or don’t do.

Control is relinquished too willingly—foolishness, the fact. By ‘control’ I mean letting others—by their action or inaction—dictate how we’ll feel. We say, “If he/she will do this to that standard by then, I’ll be happy.” There’s three areas for our expectations to be thrashed and dashed right there!

Of course, from this distance we see how ridiculous it is.

Too much contentment (and control) has been vested in variables completely out of our control. What right-minded person does that? (Yes, we all lose our minds from time to time.)

A Better Question

Instead of “When will he learn?” why not ask, “How can I live less affected by the things he (or she) does that irritate me?”

The truth is he (or she) will be the only ones who will change themselves. No one—not even you—will change them.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Differences Made in Heaven

Different ideas, perceptions and methods of action threaten to tear a partnership apart. Just as equally, however, these differences can fortify the relationship in a manner of holy respect for each other—and finally respect of God, who mandated the union.

What God’s calling partners to is listening, and no judging in that.

Open-Mindedness Even in Marriage

Giving people the scope for freedom of view is a luxury we offer the stranger but one we’ll deprive a life partner for fact of control.

Of course, this ‘open-mindedness’ that’s offered to the stranger isn’t really open-mindedness at all—it’s just a wise respect for the relational distance between them and us. Listening is pretence. They’re not ‘heard’ at all.

There’s a better standard—that of putting the partner’s (and the stranger’s) views on an equal footing with our own views. This is not difficult to do when we’re cognisant of God’s inimitable Presence because we know it’s an expectation of God that we treat others equal to ourselves.

It is even more important that we don’t take our marriage partners for granted; not only are they ‘in it for life’ with us, God’s granted us permission to care for and minister to their needs. That’s a special privilege we don’t take lightly.

The Anatomy and Physiology of Difference

Knowing this fact helps. No matter how similar people are, fragments of difference polarise. In other words, even slight differences can make two people seem violently opposed.

This is what difference looks like; it’s the fractional variation of minute degrees. No one can see the world as we see it. Why should expect people to agree?

How difference works is it divides or it integrates—commensurate of either exclusive or inclusive mindsets that drive the mode of thought. It is just as easy to decide to support someone with a different view as it is to deny them our support.

Letting Differences Be

This is simple concept. Not everything’s challengeable. Some ideas, thoughts and expressions are just that; there’s no correspondence to be entered into, no judgment, and they just hang there without recourse to reaction.

What a place to be! Home with a partner and not just by physical position, but home-free and able to hold the views we really hold, is the picture God has for marriage.

The ability to allow another human being—a life partner in this instance—to hold their unique views on things is holiest action of love; the ability to let go and let God in the lives of significant others.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Something So Tweetable

It’s a superficial world that wants a hundred 140-character messages of meaning in a ten minute portion of web browsing; one that chews data up and spits information out at diabolical pace... yet, that’s us. Quick and to the point—even if depth is skimped—seems to be ‘it’ for our day. We’re past masters at it.

We can do better.

People can be met and listened to. Freedom can be known in taking a few more nanoseconds to get our minds around an important concept. The physical world can be touched.

Tweets and status updates (short ones!) have their place, but what’s sacrificed to the popularising of the masses? Our dignity for one...

A Deeper Premise

The people seeking the time to go deeper are those extracting life from life; not some fake adventure like one of those skimming rocks across the placid lake’s surface. They get to the other side and know nothing of negotiating with skill and fortitude the rapids upstream.

The rapids produce difficulty, of course.

Most people studiously avoid difficulty. Yet, no risk means no return. A fake world is returned, no questions asked.

Exploring is the essence of the true life experience. Even though we struggle to plunge deeply into many things there are some things we can’t help get lost in. Getting lost is fun.

Getting lost is life.

The Mystery of a Good Tweet

‘Elegant simplicity’ is the term. That is, come up with a 140-character tweet or slightly longer status update that actually encourages fossicking! This is our challenge, and there are some who are becoming brilliant at it... but it still won’t feed a hungry soul clawing to be edified.

The generation of interest and appetite to learn, however, is the founding of edification. Something so tweetable ventures into this territory.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

P.S. Will we even have ‘tweets’ and ‘status updates’ in twenty years?

Graphic Credit: Social Times Website: http://www.socialtimes.com/2010/12/what-could-twitter-do-with-200-million-five-ideas/