wisdom from buechner

September 29, 2006

Snobs

Snobs are people who look down on other people, but that does not justify our looking down on them. Who can say what dark fears of being inferior lurk behind their superior airs or what they suffer in private for the slights they dish out in public?

Don’t look down on them for looking down on us. Look at them, instead, as friends we don’t know yet and who don’t yet know what they are missing in not knowing us.

That last bit sounds just a tinge snobby, no? =)  (Dote! That’s snobby of me to point that out!)

My reflection:

“Don’t point at a snob without first looking at the big door-knob of a snob that you are.”

(hopefully the last snobbish) wisdom from a recovering snob-a-holic

missional church basics

September 28, 2006

A pertinent question asked for quite some time, but also a question that many churches I know of (including mine!) are asking: What in the World is the Missional Church? Jonathan Leeman writes a pretty thorough article answering this very question. Here’s an excerpt:

[The church] doesn’t exist to draw people to itself and merely perpetuate its own institutional life, as was professedly the case throughout the history of “Christendom.” Rather, the church exists to proclaim the kingdom of God among men and women. By the same token, the unbiblical and church-centered language of “expanding” or “building” the kingdom of God is dropped, and the more biblical, God-centered language of “seeking,” “receiving,” or “entering” God’s kingdom is adopted.

Conversion is not just a profession of faith in Christ. Salvation is not only the rescue of the individual’s soul from the threat of God’s retribution. The gospel is not merely the news of what God has done in Christ to pardon individual sinners. [8] Rather, the gospel, salvation, and conversion are construed much more “holistically” or “comprehensively,” with ethical implications for every dimension of life and the message of reconciliation, justice, peace, healing, liberation, and love for the entire world: “and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20, NRSV).

Seeking, receiving or entering God’s kingdom. To me, especially in regards to what I’ve been thinking about lately, this means God’s kingdom determines the structures (form, method and approach). Learning what this kingdom looks like and is all about is of first importance.  Determining structures should stem from what God’s kingdom looks like and is all about.
A great resource for Missional Church musings can be found at the blog of Kevin Cawley, a ThM student at Regent. Check it out.  I’ve found it very helpful.

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Among my sightings: a lonely bench overlooking the railway to the mountains, a prayer meeting in the “Longhouse Church” (I was invited to pray also, but I graciously declined), a griddle that imprints an image of Jesus on toast, a photo/poster of deep fried ice cream, a red telephone booth and smiling sunshine.

pitch putt with dads

September 27, 2006

Pitch and Putt with Dad's

Black socks rule.

about twenty-five years ago…

September 24, 2006

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Those were the days.

In practically all the family photos we have (and we have lots!) our dad is hardly in any of them. But he’s there…behind the camera, carefully taking the shots, capturing the moments. It’s too bad. I would have liked to see more of what my dad looked like when he was young and thin and handsome. But just knowing that he was ‘there,’ that’s something I really take to heart and appreciate. First, we’d never have photos like this (at the Abbotsford Airshow) to look back upon, and second, we’d not know that mom and dad were around taking us to cool places like Abbotsford.

baby shower!

September 18, 2006

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from leading to being led

September 15, 2006

From Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus:

…Jesus has a different vision of maturity: It is the ability and willingness to be led where you would rather not go.  Immediately after Peter has been commissioned to be a leader of his sheep, Jesus confronts him with the hard truth that the servant-leader is the leader who is being led to unknown, undesirable, and painful places.  The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.  This might sound morbid and moschistic, but for those who have heard the voice of the first love and said yes to it, the downward-moving way of Jesus is the way to the joy and the peace of God, a joy and peace that is not of this world. (81-82)

Downard mobility.  Not “Don’t look to climb the ladder.”  I thought that was noble and “holy” enough.  But aim to go downward.

Here we touch the most important quality of Christian leadership in the future.  It is not a leadership of power and control, but a leadership of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is made manifest…I am speaking of a leadership in which power is constantly abandoned in favor of love. (82)

I don’t think I aim downward nearly enough as I should.                                                         

CBC, ABC, OBC(?)…

September 14, 2006

Came across this course reading list at Seattle Pacific University’s School of Theolgy. Quite interesting. The course is titled Multi-Ethnic Ministries, and it has a lot of interesting observations and reflections on the Chinese Church in America. What surprised me is that the American Chinese Church has been thinking and living a lot of the things I’ve been thinking about regarding the future of Chinese churches in Canada (particularly Vancouver-Richmond).

Of the numerous issues raised and addressed in these readings, Ken Shigematsu’s article (I think it’s really dated) Ethnic Must Become Multi-ethnic, really strikes a chord. There are two ways of being church: target a homogeneous unit (all Chinese) or go for multi-ethnic. Shigematsu makes his stance clear, quoting an urban minsitry leader named John Perkins:

Homogeneity does not mirror the image of God. It cheapens the people who proclaim it and mocks God’s call for us to be agents of reconciliation. What makes it even more harmful is how it is justified: If we are segregated, more people will come and hear the Gospel, which in turn advances the kingdom of God … At the same time it increases the size of churches’ membership, it retards their spiritual growth.

I’ve faced this ‘tension’ before. I remember talking to a fellow Regent student a number of years back, and asked about the ‘validity’ of ethnic churches. I was stumped. She made the same points as Perkins above, and I couldn’t come up with a response. I’ve been thinking about it every since.  And I have come to some conclusions, but continue to think about it.

Shigematsu, of course, is currently senior pastor of the “flagship” Alliance church in BC, Tenth Avenue Alliance Church. It’s well known for its multi-ethnic congregation. And I think it’s great. (Try to count the number of nationalities on their home page!) It’s so good, I know of a number of my CBC friends go there instead of the Chinese churches they’ve grown up in.

I wonder where local Chinese churches are heading.

I agree with Shigematsu. Ethnic must become multi-ethnic. But before the question of how, I’m wondering when.

“How do we practice faith well in all spheres of life?”

The blurb introducing these lectures got my attention.  Lecture one is entitled, Malfunctions of Faith: Idleness and CoercivenessMalfunctioning faith “is either redundant, virtually doing no positive work, or it is practiced in coercive, even violent ways.”

interesting documentary

September 14, 2006

Heard of this here. (I visit this site often)
Saw the trailer here. (jaw dropped)
Learning more about it here, here and here.

Just how are evangelical Christians viewed?

stanley park

September 11, 2006

stanley park

Stanley Park

Stanley Park

Spent a leisurely day with Jo at Stanley Park. And bought a pillow.

Need some rest.

tic tac jo

September 8, 2006

I love Jo.

(made with Mosaic Maker @ fd’s flickr toys)

[caution: spoilers ahead]

I like unconventional.

When I walked out of the Paramount, I remember so clearly how quietly struck I was, how so thoroughly engaged in story, feelings, truth, and emotion. I was moved. That was certain. But the way this film engaged my senses and thoughts and longing, I knew this film was different, new, unconventional.

I remember a while back that I enjoyed Malick’s The Thin Red Line more and more, each time I watched it. That was an unconventional “war” movie, especially compared to another war movie released that same year, Saving Private Ryan. The Thin Red Line delved deeper, explored the going ons of the mind, heart and will of its characters, while Saving Private Ryan memorialized the sacrifice of many in one Private Ryan–very Americana, very Spielberg. But Malick’s approach was different. He chose to mine the rage and irrationality of war and, through Jim Caviezel’s character, carry the viewer to consider a new and deeper longing. He brings the audience on a search and discovery of an alternate world in the midst of war–a life that is too good to seem real, but is. This is the ‘tribal’ scene. Perhaps one of most ‘heavenly’ scenes I’ve seen. I just wanted to be there. Natural. Peaceful. Raw. Human. Holy.

And this is Malick. Not preachy. Not rushed. Not efficient.

Just observant. Contemplative. Poetic.

The New World is a visual/musical poem. David Lowery helps me see/hear this. Reading his take, one thing I recall are the rhythms and cuts of the final scene–the reprise of the Vorspiel from Wagner’s Das Rheingold as used in the opening, and how this rising theme so finely concludes this emotional epic wave to a rushing stream, and to towering trees that point the viewer to look up–pause–and reflect.

The second time through the film, I realized why I was so quietly moved at the Paramount. The excitement, the anticipation, the wonder of things new. The death scene surpasses my previous favourite death scene in Finding Neverland, which brought me to tears.

Another review from Paste Magazine’s Robert Davis also helped me appreciate The New World more. Davis says, “Terrence Malick risks his entire story to make us feel his characters’ uncertainty.” And it is this uncertainty that resonates with the viewer, that resounded with me.

Plan A. Plan A gone. Plan B. Okay, choose Plan B. Plan A returns unexpectedly. Now Plan A or Plan B? What to choose?

The New World is not for everyone. It is unabashedly unconventional. But for me, it evoked–and will continue to evoke–the longing in me for another world.

(I can’t wait for Tree of Life.)

This is funny and great.

I think Andre 3000 (the guy in the green shirt, plaid pants and white suspenders) is funny.  He dances funny.  And his hair is funny too.

The guy actually singing (Matt Weddle) of Obadiah Parker is great, eh?

Schilling vs. Ichiro

September 6, 2006

2099EOS 30D0806-01 Schilling vs. Ichiro

Baseball is such an orderly game. Every person has a place and role.

Even the grass is orderly.

Of all the ‘organized’ teams I’ve played on, I played baseball the most.  I found my role as catcher, pitcher or shortstop.  I tried to hit the ball too.  But couldn’t see the ball well when I was 15 years old. That’s the last year I played.

I did hit one homerun.  I remember it well.  Tournament at Trout Lake, during the pre-season, but to me it still counts.  First at bat, in the first inning.  Pitcher threw hard.  A little nervous.  First pitch came high–in the split second, I thought I shouldn’t swing, “it’s a ball”…but the high ones are always juicy so I swung, made solid contact and ran as hard as I could.  I knew it went to the outfield.  But when I rounded second at full-tilt, I saw the umpire doing that whoopy-doo gesture with her hand indicating a homerun.  I couldn’t believe it.  I slowed down, rounding third.  Enjoyed the moment.  My team mates were nuts.  My assistant coach got the ball from the umpire and wrote three lines. 

Trout Lake 1988Home Run.  Jason Cheung. (or something like that)

Lost the ball though.  My brother used it to play with his buddies.  Grrrrr.

Anyway, Ichiro grounded out to the first basemen.