According to David Lyle Jeffrey (Books & Culture - A Critique of All Religions), in the church in China “one may expect to find much higher levels of biblical literacy and theological clarity by three to five years post-conversion than amongst American counterparts after two or three decades in the church.” This got me thinking...
In our 70+ year old church we are engaged in a bit of research into the differing and dominant theological streams of thought within the CRC. Our pastor, Tom Kok, stated that there is a pamphlet that outlines the three major streams and I'm trying to locate it.
Confession of sin is part of the healing process. It's important to note that this does not mean that a particular sin was the cause of sickness. It does mean that when we come before the Lord with a request on our lips we also prepare to enter into the presence of God. Coming before the Lord is not a “right,” but a gift of the Lord.
The question has been raised about the elder’s role in the governance of worship... It is important for council to establish some guidelines in the area of worship if they are delegating responsibly. In my experience, very little of this is written down in a policy manual. The guidance happens through conversation and, at times, complaint.
Increasingly, church communities are seeking new ways of living in community with countless people for whom the role “heterosexual, married with children” does not apply. How do we talk about the pain, the struggle and the violence (physical and verbal) that has accompanied the journey of many among us?
Fear needs to be rightly trained. Fear needs to be disciplined by the guidance of the triune God and experience of deep love. Much of what we fear displays a mistrust of God’s guidance and direction. Much of what we fear reveals the inadequacy of the love in community. This past synod (June 2011) reveals many conversations we need to have.
Perhaps one of the hardest activities of all is listening well. Miroslav Volf in his book Allah: A Christian Response writes that in every conversation of two people there are seven present. Me and You. My image of you and your image of me. My image of myself and your image of yourself. The seventh is God.
In a given week there are probably more Christians listening to the words of Oprah than the words of God. More people probably pay attention to TV makeovers than pay attention to God’s invitation to transformation. Elders – in working for God – have a tough job.
Over and over again, I hear of elders – especially first time elders – struggling to get acquainted with the tasks before them. Not everything can be overcome through good planning. Some tasks simply have to be done the first time in order to learn the dynamics of the ministry. But there is no question that planning
As we head into May, we are approaching the end of the church year. Now is a good time to review the work of the past year. We usually like to gloss over this moment. After all, some are coming to the end of their terms of office and are fading out of the job. Others feel a little guilty about what they failed to do. Hopes and ambition
Recently we watched a marvelous movie, Of Gods and Men. It is a powerful story of a monastic community in Algiers that is caught up in the civil war of the 1990’s. These monks were faced with question: do we stay in the community and continue our service among these people or do we do flee to the safety of France?
Over the years I have noticed that many times the kind of supervisory conversations that take place on a council level, look more like feedback. Supervision requires guidance. Supervision suggests that there are standards to be met for which the supervisors are held accountable. But in council, supervision is often handicapped.
In speaking about the Japanese struggle with its nuclear reactors, Peter Goodspeed wrote “But the nuclear danger may also be a direct result of human hubris.” ( National Post · Mar. 15, 2011) I suppose at least part of the reason I paid attention to this comment is because of other reading I was doing. The book is named This Time is Different...
Having been part of many conversations on organizational structure, I know that each organization structure is a balancing of a variety of differing objectives and at times conflicting values. The changes that are adopted depend on levels of trust within the community and the levels of anxiety that live within the organization...
Most of us are busy. We hardly have time to keep up with the relationships around us. That is not surprising. The simple math of relationships – family, friends, coworkers, church attendees and a host of other regular passing acquaintances – are enough. With these we fail to keep up. Most busy people are not looking for more.