Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

F R E E W E B S P A C E !

Words have never impressed me (they’re just sounds and symbols that we hopefully agree upon) but it’s hard to ignore the universal pull of the word “free.”

It was the 30th June 2004, and I was killing time in Teddington Library. I’d just made email contact with someone I’d met on a weekend away with the Association Of Christian Writers, who knew a few contacts in Auckland that I might be able to stay with when I got there in 3 weeks’ time. Now I was surfing various NZ employment sites, when I happened upon this advert for free webspace. Writing and publishing has always appealed to me, so I signed-up immediately, and within minutes had published my very first post.

It's true!

Jeffrey Hunter is the new Doctor Who!

Within minutes I was already getting feedback from Herschel over at the local TV station.

From: Steve Goble []
Sent: 30 June 2004 12:03
To: Herschel Krustofski
Subject: Set the black and white!

If it's on the internet, then it must be true.

From: "Herschel Krustofski"
To: "Goble"
Subject: RE: Set the black and white!
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 12:07:20 +0100

Wow. You have a blog and it's full of true information... Cool!

Time passed, as indeed did half of the planet, and eventually a forlawn Herschel dared to ask the inevitable…

Herschel Krustofski wrote:

By the way, what happened to your blog? No updates in four months?!

From: Steve Goble []
Sent: 28 October 2004 14:03
To: Herschel Krustofski
Subject: RE: Star Wars Holiday Special directed by Jacques Tati

I can't even remember the blog's address. Remind me.

True story.

Trev from church drives an ice-cream van. When he bought it, it was a bright shining MR WHIPPY van. He got it's W.O.F. (M.O.T.) approved, and for 6 months successfully sold ice creams from it to all the kids around the suburbs of Auckland. Then MR WHIPPY’s people got wind of what he was doing, and determined to put a stop to him. They told him that MR WHIPPY was extremely displeased at his name being used without his permission, and insisted that Trev stop. Trev was outraged, incenced even. But when all was said and done, Mr Whippy was after all right. And so it was that, after much prayer and soul-searching, Trev reluctantly got out his paint-stripper, went to his ice-cream van, and scratched-off the letter 'W'.

From: Herschel Krustofski []
Sent: 28 October 2004 14:04:36 +0100
To: Goble
Subject: RE: Star Wars Holiday Special directed by Jacques Tati

So now he's a hippy, maaan?
"That's Mister Hippy to you, son."

There it was. I’d written an email to Herschel about blogging, and had then immediately gone and written an entire post after it without even realising!

In fact, so little did I realise it, that this was what I immediately went with for my second post.

And then, after nearly another 4 months had passed, on 14th February the next year…

Herschel Krustofski wrote:

How's your blog coming along? I've not checked it in a while.

From: Steve Goble []
Sent: 15 February 2005 09:500
To: Herschel Krustofski
Subject: RE: RE: Lost episode found and restored

Neither have I. It'd be nice to know what I've been up to lately. As it is I can't even remember the login.

Herschel Krustofski wrote:

The last message on there states that, appreantly, YOU do all the work. Oh, how we laugh in blog-reading-land.

From: Steve Goble []
Sent: 15 February 2005 10:01
To: Herschel Krustofski
Subject: RE: RE: Lost episode found and restored

Apparently that includes spell-checking.

Herschel Krustofski wrote:


It was around about this time that I met Joe, who had started his blog 6 months after me, but was doing great things with it – chronicling his journey around the world with lots of funny text and pictures. By March Frank had discovered Blogger too, and was similarly thrashing my pathetic total of 2 short posts.

5th March: time for my thrice-yearly third post.

A week later, on 12th March, I found myself pacing around the Pacifika festival, deep in thought about blogging. I felt thoroughly inspired, and dreamt of going back and recapping not only my experiences in New Zealand, but everything else from my first 34 years of life. I knew better than to commit myself to such a foolhardy target though, and decided to just do one post, whenever I felt like it.

Click to enlarge and read!
I’ve no idea what surreal thing my profile text had said before that point (though it may be buried somewhere in Herschel’s subconcious), but it was clearly time to change it. The wording that I settled on has remained relatively unchanged until today:

I'm an English Christian attempting to serve God in New Zealand, 14,000 miles away from where I grew up. I've spent the last 8 months serving Him in a backpackers hostel. I'll admit straight away that I don't fit the typical backpacking model - at 34 I've never smoked, taken drugs, drunk alcohol, had sex or been out on a date. But despite my failiure to match-up in these regards, I do have a daily plan: 1. Let God provide for my needs. 2. Let God decide what happens to me. 3. Try to do whatever Jesus would. This might work better if I was any good at it. I have no financial income, few regular tasks, and no evidence of any future. To the outside world it may appear that God, or I, or maybe both of us have failed. In truth, I'm learning to rely upon God's unfailing daily provision (I have everything I need), His coincidence-defying appointments (unknowingly volunteering for a week that perfectly matched my gifts) and, most of all, to trust Him. (You'll see)

This was good. The 3-point plan had never really been consciously in my head before, but now that I had defined what I was doing in NZ, I realised that I had been following this all along.

Putting my life into words also helped me to both define who I was, and who I wanted to be. And I felt like I had achieved something occassionally.

However a problem developed with this text – some readers took it a bit literally. I started to get emails from people, congratulating me on giving up everything to live the life of the early Christians, and asking which church I took my new converts to.

I was hardly preaching the gospel here, and the one time that one of my friends had actually come with me to my (then) church, I had felt thoroughly, thoroughly embarrassed by it.

Gradually my life changed. Today I no longer live in the thick of the mission field. I have a job I believe in, I share a flat and I’ve found a church that I actually like. Great shades of Presley – I’m think I’m some version of normal.

Also, I’ve met a spread of different Christians with different beliefs to each other – the active, the passive, the encouraging, the cynical, the extreme and the open. I’ve also experienced tiny little aspects of Christ’s suffering, and tried to follow his silent forgiving example throughout. Somewhere along the way I slowly formed my own opinions, and so early this morning I finally updated my profile to reflect my faith’s subtle shift from the apparent extremety of God's words, to balance:

Hello. :) I'm a Christian, and I'm utterly harmless.

I've never taken drugs, smoked, drunk alcohol, had sex or been out on a date.

I can't even tread on a spider.

Yet bizarrely, Christians are often portrayed as obsessive zealots, picking one truth about God, and exaggerating it out of all proportion no matter who gets hurt.

I think any belief about God requires a gentle, delicate, precious sensitivity.

And a willingness to suffer for someone else's mistakes.

When I hurt, that's normal. But when someone else hurts, I just want to help them somehow. People are beautiful.

When Christ died on the cross, I don't think it was really just to pay-off a mean god to like us again.

I think the crucifixion is simply where perfect love will ultimately lead us.

Hence, I'm learning to rely upon God's unfailing daily provision (I have everything I need), his coincidence-defying appointments (people seem to just show up) and, most of all, to embody his soft, gentle, all-forgiving holy spirit.

It’s not set in stone, and it will change as my own faith and beliefs hopefully develop, but it helps me to be able to put what I believe into words. That way, at least I know what I think I believe.

Words. They mean so little. Yet they also mean so much.


1 comment(s):

At 6:36 am, Blogger Mike said...

Steve Mike Honeysett here.captain could you drop me a text or phone call when you get a second as soon as possible.
My number is 07872526528 or just check my facebook.....Where is your facebook account gone old man?


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