Well … I didn’t manage to sleep. And I didn’t read a book. I went to check some blogs. Google some websites. Only to discover how far removed I am from a “former life” or a “former world” which I’m still connected with loosely but not so directly involved.
In many ways, I’m happy to be not “well known” or in a “high profile” ministry in Malaysia. I’m genuinely surprised how “unsuccessful” I am in a way (and we can go on and on what defines “true success” … My Good friend’s sermon illustration on himself reminded me of how we often question ourselves in the name of “appraising” our worth… but according to who’s values?
Reading in between the lines of the words of another, has given me a little peek into the “struggle” within every leader or pastor once again. The pain that’s unspoken, the frustration which is hard for others to understand, facing self-righteous people who have their spiritual formulas more figured out than most of us mortals, the list goes on.
and yet, having listened to so many on the other end in the “pew”, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to learn how to exist in some sort of “in between” mode in order to facilitate genuine discipleship rather than just slip into some form of unhelpful pampering.
Back to the pop stuff, it’s interesting to have a look at a mega-church pastors blog! My first reaction was “Wow! even he has a blog!”
thought about the term Brian McLaren uses “Radio Orthodoxy” and how people somehow give more legitimacy to people who convey their ideas on the radio or some form of mass media. Perhaps in Malaysia it’s “best-seller” orthodoxy? Lord have mercy.
What has happened to the once upon of time drivenness ambition in me? I can’t be aging that fast right in spite of the white hairs? I am still 34 … not 43! But then again, it doesn’t really bother me that much. My wife thinks I’m a little crazy up there but she knows my heart – and I’m sincerely attempting in small steps to live what I believe is the way forward .. in life, faith, work and ministry. even if it’s a minority position.
I admit it does feel strange at times when I see things in our Malaysian Christian context which looks the same like what I saw when i was a “zealot” Christian as a teenage. It’s more polished, better marketed, and even uses more sophisticated technology or language. But it’s still essentially the presentation of a truncated gospel which produces more “consumer” mindset Christianity than what I’m reading in the gospels and even a cursory glance through church history.
It was nice to listen to a podcast when it was raining. And the unplanned conversation between husband and wife helped bring to surface some stuff I’ve been thinking about for a long while.
How does one “celebrate” the ordinary and small things this Christmas? How can I not just “complain” and “criticize”? How can we keep or purge “poison” in our system which will ultimately send us to the grave faster? or make us walking zombies?
There’s so much hurt, pain, brokenness, sickness, weakness … in the church, in the world, in ourselves.
time to pause, let God break into our “hardened” hearts … what other option do we want to take?
“suffering” or our capacity to “suffer” or our self-induced “suffering” … or is it just “stress” and our inability to face our discomfort – we do live in a world that keeps telling us being uncomfortable is WRONG! or If you suffer, something must be WRONG with you… but this must not stop us from being able to say YES to what’s beyond suffering! or our capacity to look beyond discomfort …
I think I’m rambling a little, and I haven’t drunk any wine or beer … just soft drinks.
Perhaps I have a streak of insanity which I call “creativity” 🙂
But often, I feel drawn back to the “center” – and “centering” does wonders for me. Especially, when Christ is at the center .. speaking, leading, listening, defragmenting, reintegrating, doing a whole lot of stuff … even in my sleep.
I think I’ll go for another little drink of soda with some ice … and perhaps get a book and then sleep.
The year is quickly coming to an end. And last Saturday, or since I came back from Germany I’ve already begun slipping into a mode of slowly wrapping up my thoughts for the year.
The quietness tonight is therapeutic!