December 12, 2013
“…detective fiction … is a pleasure much indulged in by scholars, pastors and theologians. Gabriel Marcel always insisted that we have to choose whether we treat life as a problem to be solved or as a mystery to be entered….” — Eugene Peterson, Living the Message: Daily Reflections
As a former associate pastor, that might help explain my fascination with this genre.
October 18, 2013
I am preparing for our next home church discussion, about Jesus’ teaching in Mt 19 on divorce (although we will be looking at it through the prism of singleness; week 2 of the series shown here), and was quite taken by William Barclay’s point here (discussing Mt 19.10-12):
We may at the beginning note this. What Jesus laid down was a principle and not a law. To turn this saying of Jesus into a law is gravely to misunderstand it. The Bible does not give us laws; it gives principles which we must prayerfully and intelligently apply to any given situation.
Barclay; William (2010-11-05). The Gospel of Matthew, Volume Two: 2 (p. 243). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
While I love the general point, it also shows what is an issue with me in many churches (and with many individuals who presume to represent Jesus): if all you hear is law, run. (And yes, that is my “principled” position.)
October 13, 2013
One of the books I’m reading through this year is Eugene Peterson’s God’s Message for Each Day and the entry for October 9th has been simmering on my back burner since I read it:
WHAT IS WRONG? Don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. EPHESIANS 4:26, THE MESSAGE
Anger is most useful as a diagnostic tool. When anger erupts in us, it is a signal that something is wrong. Something isn’t working right. There is evil or incompetence or stupidity lurking about. Anger is our sixth sense for sniffing out wrong in the neighborhood.
What anger fails to do, though, is tell us whether the wrong is outside or inside us. We usually begin by assuming that the wrong is outside us—our spouse or our child or God has done something wrong, and we are angry. But when we track the anger carefully, we often find it leads to a wrong within us—wrong information, inadequate understanding, underdeveloped heart.
[Originally from] UNDER THE UNPREDICTABLE PLANT
Peterson, Eugene H. (2004-02-13). God’s Message for Each Day (Kindle Locations 3142-3150). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
As someone who used to be a very angry person, I can only agree with Peterson’s diagnosis. I’m so glad it wasn’t the last word on the subject.
October 6, 2013
While I am today a part-time staff member and home church elder for The Meeting House’s Uptown Toronto site, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary today, I actually played a minor supportive role in its soft launch. (For those unaware of the term, that’s what the three weeks of practice services before the formal launch.)
Shortly before the first soft launch Sunday my eldest, a sound tech, got a call from a friend looking for a favour for another buddy. Short version: could he run the sound board for the soft launch Sundays and train the volunteers who would be assuming the task. My part was simple: drive him to Yorkdale for 8 a.m., then drive to Thornhill to the church I was then attending.
I admit to then finding the idea of church in a theatre odd, and thought the drive to Yorkdale longer than I’d like to do weekly (!), but he came back enthusiastic about the service.
And as I read the tweets yesterday about the training before today’s soft launch in Brantford, it’s obvious that The Meeting House has learned a tricck or two between its third and fourteenth site.
Now, to finish breakfast, and get off to Yorkdale…
October 2, 2013
There has been much ado about the proposed Charter of Quebec Values, and much of the media attention has been muddled, so there I was enjoying an excellent column by Lysiane Gagnon in today’s Globe and Mail.
The part adverted to in the title, the part I didn’t understand, was in the penultimate paragraph, specifically this clause:
the exclusion of the niqab, the face-covering veil, from the public service and school system; this is a matter of common sense
I do not understand why a woman would choose to wear a niqab, but to not make an argument, merely assert that banning this is “a matter of common sense” was, in my opinion, beneath the usual standards of this excellent columnist.
To cite another recent Globe op-ed, why should tax-paying Quebec residents be precluded from working in the public service or the school system, merely because of what they choose to wear. Allowing them freedom of expression would be, what’s the expression? — a matter of common sense.
October 1, 2013
As I prepare for tonight’s Scarborough-Guildwood home church, which will be dealing with 2 Cor 8-9 (contact me if you’re interested in attending), I came across this great quote from William Barclay describing Paul, the author:
It is most interesting to note that this same Paul, who could write like a lyric poet and think like a theologian, could, when it was necessary, act with the meticulous accuracy of a chartered accountant. He was a big enough man to do the little things and the practical things supremely well.
Barclay, William (2010-11-05). The Letters to the Corinthians (New Daily Study Bible) (p. 274). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
Oh, to be like him!