It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted up the books I’ve been trying to read. Very often, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I want to reflect on and yet have not seriously dwelt longer on. It’s the I glance through lots of material widely but have a deeper desire to plunge in deeply as well.
Perhaps it’s out of need as I’m my 7th year in BLC and my 10th year in living out my response to “the call” upon my life that drew me to this book. Marva Dawn’s words below did catch my attention immediately:
“Why is it SO HARD to serve God these days? Everywhere I go, pastors and lay people tell me how discouraged they are. Congregational budgets are not being met; council leaders or influential members lurk and attack like crocodiles; volunteers are difficult to gather; there is always too much work to do and not enough time to do it, too many needs and not enough saints to meet them all.”(p. 1)
someone asked me on Sunday how would I describe my last 6-7 years in planting and pastoring Bangsar Lutheran Church? I paused and replied, “It was much HARDER than I expected .. *smile*”.
The funny thing is after a wedding recently, another “fulltime” pastor friend asked me how come I look so relaxed and seem like I’m enjoying what I’m doing. Perhaps the hardship doesn’t show huh? I know I’m not acting or something. It”s true there are lots of surprising joys … but there are also discouraging times. It’s a mixed bag. I’m learning every day to take note of where “grace” is happening.
It was good to be reminded, “… the sense of our call is that God’s Kingdom reclaims us, revitalizes us, and renews us and thus reigns through us before others, on behalf of others, sometimes in spite of others, and always with others.” (p. 13). There’s a lot to unpack in the last statement. And I’m looking foward to process this slowly through the book.
At this stage, I’ve only read until this part on “patience” …
“… we need patience — or perhaps we should resurrect the old rendering, “long-suffering”. It will cost us loads of long hours, myriads of conversations, scads of sorrow, masses of disappointments and frustrations engaging people in the instruction and mission of the Kingdom. The only thing that makes it worth the bother is that the Kingdom is the only treasure worth having.” (p. 18)
I’m not ready to “surrender” the whole concept and idea or image of “calling” to the my past charismatic experiences or encounters with so called “prophetic” personalities. I’ve been happily revising the content of what “calling” means and I trust it’s closer to the Biblical-theological vision I’m growing to appreciate and understand better. Some baby steps forward with stumblings here and there. I think this book will give me some space and make room for more improvement.:-) I especially like the way the whole “Sabbath Way of Life” is thown in the equation.