Billabong reflections 

This wasn’t what I had planned. We both knew that I was going to write about my experiences from my first term as a teacher. More on this later. But something else is on my mind. 

I am on my very first retreat. It is in fact an eco retreat in the Hawkesbury that is amusingly close to my school. Can I just say (this is your blog Claire, so yes, you may – and you will) how nice it is to be somewhere where being ethically conscious is not abnormal. I just had a lovely solar-powered rainwater shower using environmentally safe and cruelty-free products after eating a super healthy organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, wholefoods dinner and more cups of non/low-caffeinated beverages than I thought my caffeine dependent Term 1 body could handle.  

I don’t fit into any particular category. In fact I think none of us do. Yes I am a vegetarian and do my best to follow a cruelty-free life but there is more to it than that. Labelling myself as a vegan isn’t quite right either (I eat free-range eggs). Such labels are becoming more and more popular. Why? Because greater Australian and Western society have turned away from God. They don’t consider themselves to be Christians or believe in any God at all. They have given up on God and are trying to find their identity and answers elsewhere. Why? Putting the Fall and predestination aside (bear with!), I’m wondering if it is because of us. How well are Christians modelling Christ and God’s word in what we do, say and think? 

When we’re not practicing silence (yep that happened!) I’ve had more meaningful and open conversations with people I have just met around the ethically sourced recycled wooden dining table than those I break bread with during a communion dinner at Church. The focus of this retreat is yoga and mindfulness and it has a quite “spiritual” vibe to it (whatever that means (I skipped the chanting class)). My dining companions described themselves as such. Most of them said that they were Orthodox Christians who were married to athiests. What did I do? I just sat there. I felt confused. These people care about some of the things that I care about. They are asking the big questions in life. They want to do the right thing. So why am I the only Christian here? Fast forward to Sunday and I’ll probably be skipping Church dinner because I’m not comfortable eating what is there and want to avoid all the awkward questions about why I’m not eating or not eating meat. 

After dinner we watched, and I quote, “an inspirational movie”. ‘I am’ is a documentary by a successful Hollywood director (the guy who made almost every Jim Carrey movie ever), who (after a near death experience) asked this question ‘What is wrong with our world and what can we do to fix it?’ Who does he ask? Some of the greatest minds both living and dead. Even Jesus’ own words in Matthew 5:43-48 get a mention. So what did the film suggest was the solution? Love. Sound familiar sisters and brothers in Christ? Don’t get me wrong it is great that he turned his life around and that he is using his gifts in a more meaningful and benefitial way, but am I the only one who is exasperated at how these moments tend to happen after a near death experience? Jesus died because God loves us so much. Even a lot of non-Christians know John 3:16. Christ is our near-death experience. He as already done it so what are we waiting for?  

 Why do I try and be an ethical consumer? Because God wants me to. How do I know? Because it says so in the Bible and because the Holy Spirit prompts me to do so. I don’t want to keep doing this on (what feels like) my own. He wants all of us to! I thank God for giving me this experience to help make me more bold and to provide me with enough space to finally articulate what He has put on my heart.

Despite being a dancer – I’m still not very good at yoga. 




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