Well, Randall says this last meeting with him was subdued. Not sure how to say good byes with a lot of joyful feelings. We still laughed but it is a bit hard to do that while swallowing the lump that creeps up to the back of the throat from that place just behind the sternum where it sits too often these days.
It is hard to come to the end of a really good relationship even though we have to trust that God knows what he is doing in this place. Still, it has been ten years and how do we wrap us ten years and come to some sense of closure in a couple of months. It is just hard work, this working through of saying goodbyes and starting to move into a place of new beginnings again.
I guess there can be no new beginnings unless we are willing to risk leaving a previous place of relative security. And maybe that is partly what God does to us. He has good things in store for our future. We just don’t know yet what they are going to look like – although we see some interesting ways that God is moving in our midst.
Today has been a full day. I just got back a bit ago from coffee with the group of us women who get together once a week or so to read and discuss a book – and talk. Maybe the talking is the most significant part of why we meet. This year we are going to begin with reading The Real Mary by Scott McKnight. That should bring us up to about Christmas. Sort of fitting.
We have a good time together. This year we’ll again invite other women to join us. We’ve purposefully kept the group fairly close and small so that we can learn to know and trust each other. If the group gets too big we may have to rethink the format of meeting. We need this sort of a group. This morning I was talking to the husband of one of the women and he commented that we women have a good thing going on – that he finds it hard to read scripture himself but that now his wife does and enjoys it. He was sort of lamenting the lack of this type of group for men – also being realistic and saying that the kind of sharing and support we women have is hard to do for men. And that is true. No less necessary though.
Another man in the congregation shared that he had just lost his father. Women could easily hug him and express their sympathy but the men hang back. I think they need some of this kind of support – need to learn that it is OK and good. But there are some unseen sort of barriers that keep men from being able to do this. Another fellow mentioned this, and said he thinks the men need to support each other more openly.
At least the need is becoming more evident. Maybe something will move in that sector.
For myself – it has been a full day. Preaching a sermon is good work and rewarding but it leaves me feeling as if I have done some physical work. Sort of tired and reflective and in many ways satisfied. Hard to describe. It takes some emotional energy or something and at the same time leaves me feeling good.
It also evokes some inner questions and it is a bit hard to articulate but it makes me wonder where I am going with all of this. I feel torn between pushing ahead on a course of action that I think might be right for me and holding back, being patient so that I discern the right action to take. This is a hard place to sit in – this waiting place.
Since Friday, I have been in Saskatoon for the annual Scientific Session of the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan. It was quite the gathering this year – being attended by a record number of people. I think almost 800 were registered.
Usually I don’t bother to go. I’m not big on the golfing aspect that usually takes up the half day before the scientific sessions start. And I am not big on the partying that makes up the evening activities. For the past few years the topics covered at the convention have not been of particular interest to me either and since I didn’t need the continuing ed points, I did not see much reason in going.
I am glad I went this year. Dr David Sweet spoke on Thursday. Topic was Forensic Odontology. Sort of a more realistic version of CSI, but for real. I found it fascinating. Today, I listened to a talk on the Swissair disaster and the role of dentistry in the identification of victims. Fascinating again – to me.
I think I am coming to the conclusion that there is not going to be enough length to my span of years to learn everything that I find fascinating.
Now I am back home, going over tomorrow’s talk for church. The sermon. And also reflecting on how good it was to spend overnight with my kids and grandkids in their home where I feel so comfortable.
What a lot of junk mail elections generate! I can’t say that most of it influences me to vote for the party that sends it out.
We got a flyer this week that to me appears to be full of half truths designed to distort the thinking of average Joe Citizen so that the party in power will gain their support, or keep it and increase it. The flyer shows a tattoo "Not on Your Dime" and talks about the perks given to prisoners.
Hey, everyone is against crime, right? Therefore criminals should be deprived of all privileges and punished more severely. So this government is appearing to come down hard on crime. That should gain votes for sure.
If that is what they want to say, they should come out and clearly state that. Without manipulating the reader to suppose that the proposed tattooing program in prisons is just about perks for prisoners. It was proposed as a way to cut down on the transmission of disease as well as a way of teaching safe tattooing methods for those wanting to get into this field – if they aren’t already – when they get out.
Just be honest, dear government leaders. Tell all sides of what the proposal meant. Don’t try to manipulate us into voting for you. Give us some good stuff that will improve our society. Don’t play on our fears and prejudices. We get too much of that anyway.
The answer proposed by Darrel L. Guder of Princeton Theological Seminary, among others, is that the Christian church in Canada should return to its roots and become a "missional "church. That is, the church should strike out in a different direction; it should reject the cultural forms that carry questionable assumptions about what the church is, what its public role should be and what its voice should sound like and become a "sent" community. The church should stop mimicking the surrounding culture and become an alternative community, with a different set of beliefs, values and behaviours. Ministers would no longer engage in marketing; churches would no longer place primary emphasis on programs to serve members. The traditional ways of evaluating "successful churches"—bigger buildings, more people, bigger budgets, larger ministerial staff, new and more programs to serve members—would be rejected.
This tugs at something in me.
Filed under church, Quotes
… seeing that we have a church in this size range.
Via Covenant Church News
Size of Churches: ‘Small Is the New Big’
IRVINE, CA – Following a year of planting churches in Bangkok, Thailand, NewSong Covenant Church pastor David Gibbons has changed his views of what constitutes the best size for a church.
“I visited other churches and discovered that the Evangelical Covenant denomination there (Thailand) had 4,000 people in roughly 400 churches,” Gibbons says in a lengthy interview with Leadership Journal. “It hit me. Back home, NewSong had about 4,000 people in four congregations. I saw four churches with 4,000 people versus 400 churches with the same number of people, and the question I felt God posing to me is, Who’s stronger?
Gibbons’ answer to that question has led his congregation to begin planting what he calls organic-sized churches. “Not house churches, but mid-sized,” he says. Mid-sized congregations, which he calls “verges,” have attendance of 30-300.
Gibbons questions the mindset that bigger is better. “Small is the new big,” he adds. “Big isn’t bad, but it’s overrated.”
“Great feuds often need very few words to resolve them. Disputes, even between nations, between peoples, can be set to rest with simple acts of contrition and corresponding forgiveness, can so often be shown to be based on nothing much other than pride and misunderstanding, and the forgetting of the humanity of the other – and land, of course.” P.127 The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith